And just like that, the dream is over.
The magical mystery box has been depleted. It has been collapsed and bundled up with the other many holiday-related boxes that had piled up in our basement. The gifts have been opened. The house is a disaster. Truly, the Christmas ritual has been completed.
This has been a very strange holiday season. I don’t really think that I am going out on a limb to call this holiday season probably the biggest bummer Christmas that I’ve ever had, given our shared circumstance of being unable to celebrate together. We have really been missing our families during this time.
There have been things keeping our spirits bright, though. We have been making the best of things, putting in more effort for our daughter and for ourselves to make our situation feel more special. I really have to hand it to my wife, who has been a creative dynamo through it all, and has ensured that this will be a Christmas season that we will remember for reasons other than just marked by the isolation that results from a global crisis. Her great planning and my daughter’s excitement have given me things to look forward to and have made up for the unavoidable darkness that abounds. In a moment of sincerity that is rare for this blog, I must acknowledge my great fortune and my gratitude to my wife and our lil’ stinker.
Also, the beer really helps to keep the mood light. Here are some beers!
December 22: Strongbow Original Dry Apple Cider
Lol. Alright. You got me again, you wiseass.
The second cider in a row had me worrying that the tail end of this mystery box was going to be all troll gags and non-beers.
Strongbow is fine. A lot better than the flavoured monstrosity from Pommies that preceded it. I’ve had a bunch of this in my day and you probably have too. It’s a sweet, but not too sweet and kind of nice on a hot day kind of beverage. I’m not a regular cider drinker, but this went down without complaints.
Jollymeter score: 6/10
Chantal sip-rating: I didn’t give her any.
December 23: Railway City Black Coal Stout
I was happy to receive another stout. Not just because it wasn’t a cider, but also because I’ve recently been pretty into drinking stouts and I believe there had only been one other proper stout in the box.
This is a solid entry from Railway City. Very rich bitter flavour, leaning more to the black coffee end of things than the dark chocolate end of things. Looks great poured, as it is absolutely pitch black and opaque.
I enjoyed my time with this beer, gang.
Jollymeter score: 8/10
Chantal sip-rating: Three-sipper
December 24: Refined Fool Brewing Co. Pinky Brewster Raspberry Wheat Ale
Here it is. The final beer. And it’s a flavoured wheat beer. Ah well.
I have had this beer before and I am familiar with Refined Fool, a brewery out of Sarnia, Ontario. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking the stuff while executing my duties at the South Western International Film Festival, which is great and you should check it out if you’re ever in Sarnia in November (lol?).
This raspberry wheat ale is not the best raspberry wheat beer that I have had, nor is it the best beer from Refined Fool that I have had. Both their Troll Toll Cream Ale and Pouch Envy IPA are better beers than this. They are both quite good. Perusing their website now, I’m seeing lots of beer that I would be excited to try.
Pinky Brewster has a bit of a pinkish hue when poured, but not to the extent that it seems as though it has been artificially coloured. The strange thing is that something about the raspberry flavour tastes slightly artificial to me, although the can indicates that they’ve used actual raspberry puree to make it. It must be something about the way that the fruit flavours are playing with the wheat ale flavours that has it landing in a place that I’m not totally stoked about.
It is still quite drinkable and would be better suited to a summer’s day. There are other raspberry beers that I would seek out before heading back to this one. It is okay, though.
Jollymeter rating: 6/10
Chantal sip-rating: Two-sipper.
Writing this series (and drinking the beer) has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. I must again thank Chantal for her very thoughtful gift. I also have been very happy to chat beer with a few of you through the course of the series. It’s no “getting a beer in person”, but it has still been appreciated.
I hope that you have all had an enjoyable and safe holiday season. With any luck, I will be gifted another one of these next year and also I will have shut down this blog so that I don’t have the ability to clog up your feeds all month with these posts.
To start reading this series from the beginning, go ahead and click here!