As I type, if not as you read, it’s July 25th: the official date of Christmas in July. At least for me anyway, and my annual Christmas in July celebrations. Like it’s more official counterpart in December, Christmas in July is a truly month long celebration, once in which I and other beer geeks around the world break out the winter holiday seasonal beers they have been stashing.
Under consideration tonight: Pike Auld Acquaintance, a spiced amber ale/winter warmer from Seattle’s Pike Brewing Company. One of the things I like about Auld Acquaintance is that this is not an overly powerful brew. It bucks the trend towards higher alcohol content in winter beers, weighing in at 5.5% alcohol by volume as listed on the label.
An information sheet on Pike’s website states the beer is made with “pale, Munich, Crystal, and wheat” malts, hops are listed as “Magnum, Glacier, Goldings.” The spices on the sheet match those listed on the bottle label, cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, coriander. The beer is described as“hoppy holiday ale”, though I didn’t get a lot of hops myself. To be fair, they have likely mellowed a bit over the 8 or 9 months since the beer was brewed.
Pike Auld Acquaintance pours to a murky brownish red color with a moderate densely packed white head formation and an appetizing nose of spice and sweet malt. The palate is light to medium with an easy going soft malt texture. The malt is cookie-iish and slightly sweet up front, but quickly yields to the spices. The bright citrus fruit is very apparent but yeasty peach and plum esters come to mind as well (even though they aren’t ingredients). Pungent coriander and spicy cinnamon jump out at me, too. I get some drying nutmeg spice in the finish but not a lot of hops.
I got this on clearance in January for $2.99, an incredible bargain. The normal price is just $3.99, still a real bargain indeed. Overall, I very much enjoyed this tasty spiced holiday ale. It’s robust and flavorful but not overpowering, a smooth and drinkable brew enjoyable in July or December. I’ll be looking to make this Acquaintance every year for sure.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.