It’s crunch time, kiddies. And even if you’ve handled all your shopping and decorating, you still might need some help coping with the unavoidable holiday X-factor: your family.
Eschew the gingerbread flavored, cinnamon and cardamom-infused pap gracing local shelves as holiday beers.
Call out the big guns and radio in for some Black Ops.
According to Brooklyn Brewery’s website, “Black Ops does not exist.”
If it did exist, it would be a powerful, imperial stout. Chocolatey, heavy and viscous, it would be aged in bourbon barrels so it packs quite a boozy wallop. But I kinda like that sort of thing.
Many beer geeks recommend aging a bottle for six months or more. The aging takes away some of the bourbon-heat and allows a lot of other flavors to chill out, mingle and coalesce. This makes it more malty, smooth and mellow. I have some Ops from 2009 (and earlier) and the beer is still great, albeit a totally different animal.
Me? I like that alcohol slap, that gut-punch that lets you know you’re in a fight. And, if your holidays are anything like mine, you’ll want something to usher in sweet oblivion as quickly and tastily as possible. Now, lest you think me a degenerate drinker advocating self-medication (which may, or may not, be an accurate assessment), let me just add that Black Ops pairs really well with lots of Christmas fare!
Though I might have it with a big, weighty, beef dish or roast duck, this beer will really shine with dessert. It’s heavy, boozy, with notes of molasses and dark sugars. It’ll kill with a plain, New York-style cheesecake or, better yet, a flan (grab some from Dave at Gallo in Patchogue. Pass it off as your own!)
It’s an excellent sipping beer so, as the post-coital excitement of gift-opening dies down and the youngsters pass out and drift off to bed, it would be great for fireside chats, cookies and chess.
At about $25 a 750mL bottle, it’s not cheap. Dispense judiciously, if not miserly.
Very few are worthy of sharing your Black Ops… if it existed.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
BJ is a craft beer aficionado who lives in Patchogue and does his best to drink Main Street dry. See more of his writing at beerzombie.blogspot.com.