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Bottlecraft is a retail shop and tasting room in Little Italy showcasing local, domestic and international craft beers. They offer hundreds of beers for your enjoyment in their onsite tasting room or to-go, as well as daily beer flights, events, glassware, merchandise, and gifts. Open Noon-10pm seven days a week. 2161 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101.
Gift of the Magi, the Christmas seasonal from The Lost Abbey is a beer I pick up a bottle of every year around this time of year. As a beer it doesn’t blow me away, and I usually only have it once or twice a year, but there’s something about it that causes me to pick it up each year.
I don’t think The Lost Abbey ever defines the beer style (they refer to it as a “Golden Ale”) but general consensus (at least on Ratebeer and Beeradvocate) seems to be that it’s a Bière de Garde.
Lost Abbey describes it as such
It seems that everyone knows the story of the Three Kings. Sent to follow the star in the sky each brought a gift for the baby they sought. One King brought Gold, the other Frankincense and the other Myrrh. Many breweries produce a Christmas Seasonal beer and this is our beer to celebrate the holiday season.
Gold in color and bittered with the bark of Frankincense, we have even used the smallest amount of Myrrh which is an herb that has roots in ancient winemaking as well.
A massive Golden Ale fit for a king (or Queen) we offer the Gift of the Magi each holiday season.
At 9.5% Gift of the Magi makes a nice Winter beer even though the style isn’t the first thing I think of having this time of year.
A dark reddish brown (I wouldn’t call it Golden in color) with a small white head, an earthy smell is the first thing that stands out. I’m pretty sure there’s Brett in there, but this beer is pretty fresh so it doesn’t stand out much. I’ve heard great things about 2-3 year old Gift of the Magi, but never aged a bottle myself (note to self: pick up another bottle). There’s also a slightly sweet, berry-like smell in addition to the earthiness.
It’s pretty bitter, I’m not familiar with Frankincense so I can’t pinpoint that specifically, but it is an earthy bitterness. There’s some toasty grain sweetness and a strong alcohol kick at the end of each sip. There’s no denying this beer is close to ten percent alcohol, making it a sipper. There’s a long bitter after taste which is somewhat plastic-tasting. I expected more spice but just didn’t find it.
Gift of the Magi isn’t my favorite beer, but isn’t a bad beer. I think I’ll put one away for a year or two to see how it changes.
Photo: CC Flickr:the_photographer