12/25/19: The Bruery's 12 Drummers Drumming

7:35 PM

I know it's late, but we did it. Christmas has been accomplished. 


Michelle and I spent the day with her family (we were with mine over the weekend). Her brother woke up at a super reasonable time this morning (8 a.m., instead of his usual 11) and, after Christmasing around her folks' for a few hours, we drove to her grandparents' for the rest of the day.

Now that all's been said and done, we're home. Nat King Cole is crooning "The Christmas Song" from my speakers (again--what can I say? It's a classic). The lights around our tree are plugged in. We've doled out the cats' gifts. All that's left to do is this:12 Drummers Drumming, my Christmas 2019 post.

If it seems like I just wrote about the Bruery, it's because I did. Just over a month ago, in fact. But, here's a quick recap for those who might need it: Founded in 2008, The Bruery's name is derived from the surname of Patrick Rue, its founder. Having fallen in love with homebrewing while in law school, Patrick decided to start a career in the business instead of pursuing what he'd gone to school for. And the world is, I'd like to think, far better for it. If this crash-course in the company's history wasn't enough for you, be sure to head on over to The Bruery's "About Us" page--it'll have everything else you'd want to know.

12 Drummers Drumming (which can be found toward to bottom of this page) is the final entry in The Bruery's 12 Days Collection (and the only one I've managed to find!), an endeavor spanning twelve years. The 12% ABV ale is a blend of a Belgian-style Quadrupel and a bourbon barrel-aged ale. It has notes of toffee, oak, caramel, and dark fruit. It should be a fitting beer to end the Christmas season.

First off, before getting into the ale itself, I need to announce that I'm breaking my rules. Since this is the finale of a series that's spanned more than a decade, I'm doing what the bottle suggests: I'm pouring it into a Belgian glass.

The ale has some complex aromatics. Plum, apricot, licorice, oak, vanilla, toffee, sweet chocolate, a little smoke, fig, molasses. These are all notes I'm picking up from the bouquet. Like I said: complex. Perhaps too complex for Purrl--she refused to put her sniffer anywhere near my glass. That'd be a zero rating from her.


The oak is big here in the flavor. I get toffee and caramel, plum and cherry, with some burnt sugar notes in the finish. The booziness isn't as strong as you might expect from a 12% ale. There's a slight warmth, and a little roastiness on the back of my palate between sips, but that's about it. This is an incredibly well-crafted beer.

There's a fine carbonation to 12 Drummers that imparts a subtle creaminess to the affair. Seriously, this mouthfeel is akin to a good cream stout.

For Christmas 2006 I got both a Nintendo Wii and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. That was one of my favorite Christmases. See, my folks would typically hide one of our gifts. The Wii was in the trunk of my dad's van. When I came back inside, there was a final present for me, nestled in our tree--while I was looking for console, my folks put out the game.

I spent the rest of that day playing Zelda. I made it into the kingdom of Hyrule proper before I had to call it quits for bed. It was crazy--the motion controls (gimmicky though they are now in 2019) were intuitive and immersive. Really, it was a perfect day, and one of which 12 Drummers reminds me.

The Bruery's 12 Drummer Drumming is a fantastic ale, one that would pair perfect with a cold winter night (which is unlike what we're experiencing now). While it doesn't contain those spices I associate with Christmas beers, I don't even care. It's a 10/10 ale and one that's a perfect ending to such a long series.

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