The last week of 2007 saw a few interesting and tasty brews. Decadence, however, is admittedly overstating things.

The Saturday before Christmas, I kegged Hump’s Humble Monk Ale. On Sunday, Malin and I went to dinner with several friends of ours. My brother, Jake, also came along. Our destination was the Brick Store Pub in downtown Decatur. Among the brews we tried was a delectable Belgian seasonal: De Ranke Père Noël. It was a lovely, deep gold. Its flavor was balanced, slightly fruity, and crisp. The Brick Store had it on tap, and our group helped put it away (the keg ran dry before we left).

On Christmas day we ate potato croquettes, roast duck, and bacon-wrapped asparagus. This was paired with an inexpensive red wine. Alas, I had suitable brews to accompany this menu, but none that would be chosen over wine by my wife or my mother-in-law. Particularly good could have been the Belgian Pale Ale I just made – which had just reached a suitable level of carbonation on this day: the Humble Monk Ale.

The day after Christmas was a feast in Greenville, South Carolina – where I grew up and where my parents still live. We had a tasty feast that afternoon, and that evening my wife and I went out with some friends of ours that were in the vicinity. Part of that evening’s festivities included sampling some of the brews I recently acquired:

  • Left Hand Oak-Aged Imperial Stout, 2004: Delicious. A fantastically smooth, roasty, strong, sweet stout. The wood added a delightful note of vanilla that was divine.
  • Three Floyd’s Fantabulous Resplendence – X: A very nice barley wine. Like other great American barley wines, it was well hopped – almost too much at first. But as the palate acclimated itself to this big brews, all the flavors melded fantabulously.
  • Courage Russian Imperial Stout, 1993: This is the last year that this beer was brewed. It was an interesting and memorable beer – but part of that memory are the off flavors of a beer that is a little past its prime. Particularly, there were sour flavors that were intriguing, but didn’t really seem like they belonged. Also, the sight of chunks of dead yeast, stained black from 15 years spent swimming in black beer, was less than stellar.

The next night, I hung out with my friend Jason and sampled some other tasty brews: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale, Stone India Pale Ale, and Stone Double Bastard Ale.

We then exchanged some beers. In exchange for a case of home brew, I received several treats from Bell’s Brewery: Two Hearted Ale, Porter, and Kalamazoo Stout.

In addition to the above brews, I also got to taste New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat and Bell’s Batch 8000 Ale (both courtesy of CaptainCougar). And I’m still looking forward to the rest of the great stuff in my cellar: Three Floyd’s Behemoth, Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, Dogfish Head Golden Shower (all three also from CaptainCougar), Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio, Mikeller Black Hole, and Left Hand Twin Sisters Double IPA.

Stay tuned. Later this week (Friday) is another Session, and this month the topic is Doppelbock.