Monday, December 29, 2008

Beer Review of the Week: Big Sky Brewing Biere de Noel


A few weeks back, Linsey Corbin was in town for a photo shoot. I heard that her husband worked at a brewery in Montana, so I somewhat-jokingly said that I wouldn't put her in the magazine unless she brought beer. Linsey was already traveling with a bike in tow, so I really didn't expect her to lug some beer down to San Diego as well. However, since I'm somewhat of an alcoholic, at least as far as triathletes go, I was kinda hoping she did. And she did.

Upon her arrival I was handed a giant bottle of limited edition Big Sky Brewing Co. Biere de Noel. Hand-written on the back was "No. 109 of 204", which means this stuff is about as hard to come by as the new Litespeed Blade. I had been meaning to drink it before Christmas (being as it's a Christmas-themed beer and all), but I've been on the road and away from my fridge. So, when I got back to San Diego tonight, I decided a double-pint of really strong brew was in order. The Big Sky Noel boasts almost 9% ABV, which feels like a lot more when you've been drinking on a plane all day...not that I'd ever do that. Basically, if the Grinch had this shit, he wouldn't have been nearly as big of a dick to the poor children of Whoville.

As for the finer details...

The Noel definitely is not short on flavor notes. If your palate is only used to Natty, Keystone and Icehouse (AKA, you're a college student), it may be a little much. It's a Belgian Dark Ale, which means two things: It's robust and it gets you lit. True to its Belgian heritage, the Noel is loaded with spice, but low in bitterness. The tame bitterness means it finishes smooth, but the strong notes of bourbon, oak and smoke linger in the palate.

And as for the ratings...

Calories: * I can't give you an exact calorie count, but if you're looking to get ripped during the off-season, this shouldn't be your brew of choice.

Antioxidants: *** Belgian Dark Ales are some of the most antioxidant rich beers on earth, so it's ideal to drink immediately after a hard workout...so long as you plan on doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.

Refreshment: 1/2 * This is not meant to be a refreshing beer by any stretch. It's meant to be sipped slowly while you're sitting next to the fire and trying to get buzzed enough to deal with your in-laws.

Taste: *** I probably wouldn't give the Noel three stars if I were drinking it on a sweltering summer day in the Everglades, but the uber-spicy flavor is perfect this time of the year.

4 comments:

Coach Mike said...

Hey, Brad...nice bottle holder. Can also be used for support on trips to bathroom or bed following said bottle, right?

But seriously, you got the Belgian stuff clearly figured out. Makes me long for a Chimay Cinq Cents right about now...well, perhaps after noontime...

Happy holidays!

Brad Culp said...

Mmmmmm...I'd kill for a Cinq Cents right now. I like your taste. Have you tried Ommegang? That's the only brew that tops Chimay in my book.

Coach Mike said...

There's a place in downtown Pensacola (Hopjack's) that has both Chimay and Ommegang (as well as a bunch of other good micro/import beers). Their pizzas are absolutely top shelf and worth the visit. Come out for our intermediate distance triathlon (4/26/09) and we might take you over there.

Or...stop by en route to IM FL this November.

Cindy Jo said...

Stop making me want to drink some wonderful brews! I've already gained 15 pounds this year after wholeheartedly giving in to my beer loving ways (and not training, obviously).