Old Fezziwig Ale
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Boston Brewing Company – Boston, MA
Information: (Site) “Samuel Adams® Old Fezziwig® Ale is the Christmas cookie of beer. Bursting with spices of the season and a remarkably full body, it helps those long winter nights pass much quicker. The full body hits the palate first with a depth of malt character ranging from sweeter toffee and caramel notes to the more dark, roasty chocolate notes. Then come the spices in full force. Cinnamon, ginger and orange peel dance on the tongue bringing with them the celebratory spirit that goes hand in hand with the season.“
Holiday-specific beers tend to fall on the tip and tail of the flavor spectrum. Either you get the more subtle, dare I say weak, brews that claim to be ‘Christmasy’, yet fall flat on both excitement and complexity, or you get those beers that are almost too strong toward the seasonal style resulting in something akin to a fir-flavored melted candy cane. I have had this sample previously, though I haven’t given it a review. So, let’s see how she rates.
The pour is a beautiful rouge-amber with a slight, white hat that slowly recedes to very little but lacing. This beer absolutely smells exactly how I picture the Holidays smelling: like cookies baking; like a nice fruit cake (yes, they can be); like molasses; like caramel; like Christmas. It has such a unique an amazing aroma that you almost don’t want to drink it! Well, almost.
This beer is so reminiscent of a meal that it’s almost bizarrely difficult to describe. There are obvious malts that hit first and coat the tongue, what follows is a vast array of flavors like toffee, clove, mocha, slightly bitter hops, and a clean, though comfortably heavy, buttery mouth-feel. This is, without a doubt, what Christmas in a bottle ought to be. This beer should be a prerequisite at every Christmas party and should come served, instead of coffee, with the pumpkin pie. It is beautiful.
Who is Fezziwig? Glad you asked! Take it away Wikipedia! “Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig are characters featured in the Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol. Mr. Fezziwig is the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Ebenezer Scrooge worked as an apprentice with Dick Wilkins; and in Stave 2 of The Christmas Carol, has a Christmas ball. Mr. Fezziwig is a happy man with a large Welsh wig. Old Fezziwig liked to dance to “Sir Roger de Coverley”, a lively tune of the 1800s. Scrooge revisits Fezziwig with the Ghost of Christmas Past, during the Fezziwigs’ lively Christmas party. Fezziwig is one of the few people to whom Scrooge is thankful, for he says, “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” Scrooge is reminded how much he once appreciated Fezziwig. Since Fezziwig is the elder Scrooge’s opposite in many ways — in kindness, generosity, affection for his employees, relationship with family, and apparent happiness — Scrooge is thus confronted with the fact that his own choices have diverged greatly from those of someone he admires.”
Rating: * * * * *
This is the Christmas beer all others can only hope to be.