12/18/17: Fat Head's Brewery's Pimp My Sleigh

7:31 AM

This is it, everyone. We're exactly one week out from the big day. My tree's been up and decorated since the end of November. Yesterday we were at Michelle's parents', helping them trim theirs (they're lucky enough to have a real tree). I'm done shopping for all my people but two. I don't have much longer to get everything else I need together--wish me luck!

But, even though I have that yuletide deadline hanging over my head, I still have to take time to enjoy my final three beers of the season. Today's beer should be a surprise for those of you that follow me on Instagram; it wasn't included in my Christmas beer preview post, simply because I didn't have it at the time nor did I know if I'd find any. But, luck was on my side. Today, I'm drinking Fat Head's' Pimp My Sleigh.

Before getting into Pimp My Sleigh, please grant me a moment to talk about net neutrality. That's right, I'm not done with this yet. Unfortunately, the FCC, in all their near-sighted idiocy, pushed through the vote to kill net neutrality last Thursday, December 14th. The good news is that the fight's not over. Go to battleforthenet.com, contact your congressional representatives, and talk to people about this issue. We can still ensure an open and fair internet for years to come, but we need to act swiftly. I'm counting on you!

Now, you may recall my most previous Fat Head's post, which was published here just a few days before Halloween. In that I dropped the link to the "About Fat Head's" section of the brewery's website. I mentioned that the company found its origins in Pittsburgh, PA as a craft beer saloon in the early 90s before beginning to brew their own beers in North Olmsted, OH in 2009. After moving to Middleburg Heights, OH in 2012 to increase their production, Fat Head's is still dedicated to crafting incredible, drinkable, award-winning brews.

Pimp My Sleigh (click that link to hit up the ale's official write-up) looks like it'll be one of those incredibly drinkable beers. It's a belgian-style Christmas ale that clocks in at 10.5% ABV. It promises to be spicy, dark, and sweet with notes of raisin, anise, and fig.

I'll not mince words when describing Pimp My Sleigh's bouquet--it's dark. Nearly excessively dark. I get some raisin, some fig, some plum, even. There's that dark, rich malty aroma you'd find in something like a belgian quad. And yet, it's Christmasy. Layered between and under everything are those spices in Christmas ales that are so alluring--cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. This ale's aroma is nothing short of intoxicating. Háma, the cat who's most readily available at the time of this writing, seems to agree. My guy gave the bottle I presented him twelve (!) deep whiffs.

And the flavor of this thing! It's big. It's bold. It's boozy. I get all the sweet, dark fruity notes immediately upon imbibing. After that there's a small, subtle wash of booziness before some dark chocolatey roastiness lingering about the finish with that yeast you'd expect from a belgian-styled offering. The spices from the bouquet don't carry over to the taste of the ale, but that's no big deal. They're not needed here. After announcing the presence of Christmas in the aroma, they stand aside and let Pimp My Sleigh stand strong on the merits of its flavor alone.

There's a slight carbonation to the ale. Although only slight, Pimp My Sleigh still has the big, boasty mouthfeel you'd expect from a beer of this caliber.

When I was a kid, we'd always go to my church's service on Christmas Eve. Before we were teenagers, my parents always took my brother and me to the earlier service, which was around 7 p.m. Once the two of us had crossed that threshold into awkward adolescence, however, my family bumped it back to the midnight service.

It was a candle-lit affair each and every time. After the final Advent candle had been lit, they spread the flame around the sanctuary, lighting the individual candles held by members of the congregation. Once all candles had been lit, the overhead lights would dim until they were out. We'd sing "Silent Night" by candlelight before extinguishing our small flames and filing out of the church. Those dark, "Silent Night" services are running through my head as I'm drinking this dark, Christmasy belgian-style ale.

Fat Head's Brewery's Pimp My Sleigh is an excellent ale. It's good Christmasy but it doesn't beat you over the head with its spices. Instead, those spices easily give way to a dark, festive beer that's able to stand on it's own without issue. It's a pricey ale--my twelve-ounce bottle ran me $3.29--but it's worth it. I'm giving it an easy 10/10. Find Pimp My Sleigh and enjoy it while you can; soon it'll be gone until next Christmas!

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