Two Roads Holiday Ale
22 oz bottle, $7-something?, 7.3%
Purchased at Maximum Beverage, West Hartford
As a proud infantryman in the War on Christmas, I was initially drawn to this beer simply because it is a “Holiday Ale” and not an – oh dear me! – Christmas Ale. So thank you Two Roads, for being one more tiny piece in what will be a victorious and all-encompassing War on Christmas.
[Aside: I wonder if all the pagans and Zoroastrians were upset about the War on their solstice holy days when Christianity stole everything about Christmas from them. If only they’d had Fox “News.”]
So here I am again, with another Two Roads beer that came with a build up and a press release and effusive “reviews” from blogging partnerships that have been cultivated. (Hurrumph, no one ever cultivates such “relationships” with me. Haha.)
Before I cracked the bomber open, I tweeted a question to no one in particular, “About to have 2R’s Holiday Ale… I hope it’s better than their last Roadsmary effort.” I received a few weak, “Yeah, it’s a little betters” and a couple, “I’m so done with Two Roads. Blehs.”
Two Roads says:
Two Roads Holiday Ale is inspired by the little known Biere de Noel style, on subset of Biere de Garde, both of which originated on small farmhouse breweries in the north of France. Biere de Noel, which translates as “Christmas Beer”, tends to exhibit a more malty profile than a typical Biere de Garde. In its native France this special type of ale is brewed by just a handful of small breweries and is only available for the few weeks leading up to Christmas.
That’s what their website says and it’s perfectly lovely. But I credit the label itself for getting a bit more into the nitty gritty of the beer itself:
It has a deep malt flavor with notes of treacle, toasted malt and caramel. The malt character is accented by a mild herbal presence of French Strisselspalt and Aramis hops.
Treacle! From which is derived one of my favorite little-used words: Treacly! Treacle is basically molasses or syrup flavor. (In Scotland, treacle scones are a particularly delicious treat.)
But treacly! That wonderful adjective means cloyingly sweet or sentimental. I use in in reference to so many mommy bloggers and healthy living drones who blog through life in such a way that makes me pull my hair out.
This guy in this video gives his holiday message in a treacly voice. I love him so much. Pvt. Saltus has reached out to me and has told me this video was a goof; he was totally goofing around and NBC somehow aired it. No matter, it’s a holiday tradition for us to watch this a few times every year:
Unfortunately, it seems as though Two Roads, because of their size and reach, have sort of cultivated one or two treacly bloggers of their own. Whatever works, I guess. But does this beer work? As with almost every Two Roads beer the answer is, “yeah. I guess. Whatever.”
Once again, this beer is just another beer with a little bit of spice and molasses in it to qualify it as a “special” – in this case, “Christmassy” beer. It goes down fine and drinks well at over 7% ABV. If you try really hard, you can pretend you taste all the treacle and Aramis hops in it. The label is festive. The backstory is fun. The beer is not terrible.
In other words, it’s another early Two Roads beer.
Overall Rating: C-
Rating vs. Similar style: C+