Bah Humbug! Christmas Ale
Review Date 11/20/2006
“Good beer, A Humbug?,” said Scrooge’s nephew Fred
quite incredulously to the miserably old miser before leaving the dingy and
cold little cubby hole that Ebenezer called an office. “You don't mean
that, I am sure.”
"I do," said Scrooge. "Good beer! What right have you to drink good beer? You're poor enough."
"Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. "What right have you to drink cheap beer? You're rich enough."
Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug."
The conversation went on further, but Fred, sensing his uncle's increasingly dour mood, made a hasty retreat from Scrooge’s environs. Still, his faith in good beer was only redoubled by his uncle’s pessimism, and he resolved to visit Scrooge each and every year until such time as he finally saw the light and acquiesced to Fred’s annual yuletide offer of dinner, companionship, and real ale.
Scrooge, on the other hand, reveled in his apparent victory, and headed home- a home, it should be added, that was even less appealing than his office-and that’s saying something, to be sure. Directly, he reached for the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. But what to wash it down with?
Ebenezer trudged off to his cellar and promptly returned with a bland, boring bottle of adjunct-laden lager. Not much flavor to be found in this glass of beer, the old miser reflected. Still, it was cheap enough, and that was all that mattered to him. In short order, Scrooge polished off the bottle, made a return trip for another, finished that as quickly, decided on another, and followed the pattern several times more.
And then it happened.
The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.
"It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it."
His colour changed though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, "I know him; Barley's Ghost!" and fell again.
And so it was. The ghost of Jacob Barley, Scrooge’s former partner, and now dead these past seven years. At first Scrooge did not believe his eyes, thinking the chain-clad apparition to be no more than the aftereffects of a few too many cheap beers. “There’s more of grain than of grave about you, humbug!”
At this comment the spirit let out a blood-curdling shriek, which almost sufficed to bring Ebenezer back to sobriety. "Mercy!" he said. "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?"
"I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. And with that, he reached over and handed Scrooge a bottle of Wychwood brewery’s Bah Humbug!. Scrooge, visibly shaken from his otherworldly visitation, poured himself a glass posthaste. Sensing the fine aromas wafting towards his nose, Ebenezer seemed immediately restored.
“Bah Humbug! pours to a deep reddish chestnut color with a light but creamy head formation and a delightfully enticing butterscotch and toasted nut nose!” Scrooge exclaimed.
“Why, the palate is lip-smackingly good, with a rich creamy body that slides smoothly and richly across the tongue.”
Scrooge remarked that the beer was not served ice cold, but cool, allowing its subtle qualities to be better appreciated.
“I really love the light butterscotch flavor that coats the tongue as you sip, but I get a lot more here, too,” he declared. “A bit of spice-cake, a touch of caramel, dried nutty notes, a bit of raisin, they’re all here! Why, it’s like one of Old Fezziwig’s Christmas puddings in a glass! The beer finishes with a gentle kiss of slightly perfumey, grassy and gently bitter hops that balance out beautifully. A taste of the spices come through in the finish as well!”
From that time on, Scrooge was a changed man. If ever there was a man who kept good beer in his heart, it was Scrooge. Each Christmas, he arrived at his nephew’s abode, arms full of Bah Humbug and various and sundry other Wychwood ales: Black Wych Stout , Goliath Ale , and Hobgoblin if only to name a few.
At which his nephew was often heard to remark, “God bless us, every one”.
(Apologies to Charles Dickens, my very favorite author, for the modifications to his classic novel. Passages in italics are his; the rest is either a play upon his lines or (mostly) my own beery extrapolation.)
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.