11/23/18: Stein Brewing Company's Ole Doc Neazer

5:46 PM

This is not the post I'd intended for it to be. It's not the post I'd expect to make for the first of 2018's Christmas beer blowout, nor is it a beer that I'd imagined I'd include here. It's a beer that, until today, I had no idea existed. But, now I know better and I'm pleased to give the ale it's due here.

See, we visited my folks for Thanksgiving. On the way out of town, Michelle, my brother, my folks, and me decided to swing into Mount Vernon, OH's new (and first ever) craft brewery: Stein Brewing Company. My dad and brother each got a pint (Michelle got a pint of cider) while I opted for a flight. I'm pleased to say that each beer I had was a fine entry into the greater craft beer canon. Four of the seven I tasted, however, are each beers worth talking about: The Woodward (an IPA with habanero), Temperance Crusader (a stout with maple), Jackets Orange (a blood orange IPA), and, the beer of which I got a crowler in order to do a full post this evening, Ole Doc Neazer.

Stein Brewing Company is, as proclaimed by their About page, the first operating brewery in my hometown since the late 1870s. The taproom in which you'll sample their offerings is phenomenal, with big screen TVs showing the current taps and ample seating galore.

The vast majority of their brews--if not all of their brews--are nods to things in/about the town/county of which it's the seat (that'd be Knox, by the way). Let's take a quick peek at three of the four I listed above. The Woodward? That's the old opera house beneath which the brewery and taproom are located. Jackets Orange? My alma mater's mascot was the yellow jacket which, due to a mixup (that I guess was uncorrectable), was represented in the colors orange and black, instead of yellow and black as you might think.

And Ole Doc Neazer? Well, apart from being a killer name for a Christmas ale, the guy who built the Woodward was one Doctor Ebenezer Woodward. Okay, so maybe he didn't actually build it himself, but he did foot the bill for its construction. The ale named after him is your traditional Christmas ale with a hefty dose of spices that also includes an addition of peppermint. There's no info of the stuff on the website (and the linked Untappd page found on the website only has the beer's name and user rating),  but my crowler lists the ABV as 6.4%.

Before writing about the ale, let me say that, yes, I am drinking a it from a glass. At the brewery today, I got a pint (along with my flight) for $10 and kept the glass (standard pints in non-keepable glasses aren't that pricey). Fifty cents from every pint poured into the glass was donated to Knox Community Hospital. To top it off, it's a Christmas glass, which is pretty perfect for this beer.

Ole Doc Neazer has a bouquet of malt and peppermint. That's really all I get from the nose. It does smell Christmassy, just not in the way I'd expect a Christmas ale to smell Christmassy. Purrl gave it the crowler I offered her four whiffs, meaning she's not as impressed with the nose as I am.

The ale has a strong malt backbone that's enhanced with all those Christmas spices you'd hope to find. These aren't overpowering and play well with the peppermint, which comes through here in a punch. The peppermint's also strong in the finish and leaves my breath tasting like I've just eaten a candy cane.

The mouthfeel here is not what I'd expect. It's creamy--almost like what you'd get from a Guinness. It works exceptionally well and helps to boost the peppermintiness of the ale.

Sitting here with my beer in hand, I'm thinking about holiday traditions. Like, when I was a kid, my family used spend a good chunk of Christmas Eve night driving around town, looking at the Christmas lights people had put up. We'd go to an evening Christmas service at church before piling into my folks' car and driving up and down our town's brick streets and turning around slowly in its cul-de-sacs.

I really didn't enjoy this as a kid, because I knew that I'd get to open up one present when we got home before I had to go to bed. But, looking back on it now, taking in all the lights our neighbors would hang was an integral part of the Christmas experience. It's become something that, as an adult, I look forward to doing with Michelle each year.

I'm incredibly pleased that I get to kick off the blog's Christmas season with Stein's Ole Doc Neazer. It's a pleasant surprise that the brewery had a Christmas ale, especially one as good as this. I'm giving the ale an 8.5/10. If you're ever in Mount Vernon, you really ought to swing by Stein and check out their brews. And, if they happen to have Ole Doc Neazer on tap, be sure to grab a pint of it!

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