What's to drink?

I understand that most here at Headlife are teetotallers. However, for those of us who like a good drink nowadays (and for those non-Headlifers who come here on occasion), I thought I'd share what I've been drinking this winter holiday season.

One reason to look forward to the winter is the appearance of two fantastic beers. The first is Anderson Valley Brewing's Winter Solstice. It's a medium-bodied beer with lots of complexity. There's a little sweetness and perhaps a hint of nutmeg and other holiday spices. And because it's a winter beer, the alcohol content is high, coming in at 6.9% abv. Similar in style is a beer from Yorkshire's Samuel Smith brewery, their Winter Welcome Ale. It's also medium-bodied (I tend not to like the more standard winter beers that are very heavy and often either hoppy and bitter, such as Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, or dark with a coffe and chocolate nose, like Baltimore's own Clipper City and their Peg Leg Stout), with a bit more malty flavor and a bit less sweetness-- though you do get some fruity flavors, especially in the nose. It's also not quite as strong, coming in at 6% abv. Both definitely hit the spot on a cold winter evening.

Winter also calls for some fuller-bodied red wines, too. One I recently tasted and loved was the Buehler 2001 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It's got lots of cherry and plumb flavors and is velvety smooth. Unfortunately, Wine Spectator named this one of the 100 best California cabernets this year, so it's likely going to be hard to find-- especially since it's relatively cheap at ca. $22 a bottle. Worse, I now see that the suggested retail of their '02 is in the $35 range-- I guess success went to their heads (and our wallets!)

Finally, winter just isn't complete without egg nog. Dairyland Distillers in Philadelphis makes the best egg nog I've had-- their "original brand" Pennsylvania Dutch (sorry-- I couldn't find a website). It's a wonderful blend of good-tasting, quality egg nog with brandy, rum, and blended whisky. And, at 14.75% abv, it won't knock you over after a glass or two.

Winter's really settling in here in Baltimore (Monday's high is going to be below freezing!), so I defintely have at least a few more nights to look forward to tasting some of these, and I hope thost that are interested will get a chance to, too!