Friday, December 18, 2009

The 12 Beers of Christmas: Day 8
Left Hand Fade to Black

Note: I'm a fan of holiday ales, and I want to use this forum this year to lay out 12 beers that just seem essential for holiday party drinking. Plus, I want to actually see if I can sit down and write for 12 days in a row, a feat I've never pulled off on this blog.

I was somewhat distraught when Left Hand Brewing announced this year that it was discontinuing Snowbound Ale, its spiced holiday beer that ranked near the top of my annual Christmas sipping list.

I was far less bummed, however, after I tasted its replacement, Fade to Black.

This foreign export stout doesn't just greet you with the scent of espresso - it comes on with the smell of coffee that's been left to warm just a little longer, burning slightly onto the bottom of the pot in a way that ensures its attractive scent is lingering for all. And the taste follows as such: A highly palatable, medium-bodied affair with a roasted tinge that extends around the edges of your tongue and lights up your mouth.

After the introduction, you become aware that the hops in Fade to Black are present and accounted for, but it's the six types of malt that hold the upper hand in this drink. It fills you, it coats your taste buds and it leaves you wanting to leave the lights out so that you can contemplate it in an atmosphere as dark as it is.

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