So I have a confession to make. I don’t actually celebrate Valentines Day. It’s not that I’m single, it’s just not a holiday I think requires a whole lot of fan fair. However I do like Christmas and since it’s still winter I think it is perfectly okay to combine the two holidays. On with the show!
This week I went with one of my favorite breweries The Great Lakes Brewing Company. I’m trying their Christmas Ale for the first time. Was it everything Christmas in a bottle? Well, not really.
The Style: It’s a Christmas Ale so it’s “an Ale with spices and honey” (at least according to the bottle). Has an alcohol content of 7.5%
Taste and Body: The bottle says that it has a fresh taste of honey, cinnamon and ginger. Of the three, I can defiantly pick out the honey and cinnamon. It’s smooth with a clean hoppy finish. It’s light and festive.
Color: A nice medium amber
Aroma: I’m going to say light. I wasn’t able to detect much of an aroma, but that just might have been me.
Level of Recommendation: Good if you don’t want something too over powering. If you like just a hint of spice and not have it over power your pallet, this is a good Christmas Ale for you.
I’m not sure where I first found this recipe. I know Racheal Ray has a version and if you look on YouTube you’ll probably find a few dozen variations. Each apple is it’s own serving and it’s really simple to make. I can do all of the prep work in under 5 minutes (minus heating up the oven).
What you’ll need:
- Apples – if this is for two people one apple for each person
- A scoop of butter – I usually go for a small spoon full
- Roughly 1 Tbs of brown sugar
- Cinnamon – I usually go for 3 shakes out of the container
- Ice Cream sandwiches (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F for about 10 minutes. Hull out the apple so that there is a decent whole at the top and it starts to look like a bowl (don’t go all the way to the bottom).
Fill the apple with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft when you stab it with a spoon on a cookie sheet.
Once the apples are fully baked, put into a bowl and add the ice cream sandwich. If it’s a mini ice cream sandwich use one per apple, if it’s a standard size sandwich use one for two apples.
So does this romantic Christmas inspired Valentines Day pairing live up to expectations? I would say yes. The cinnamon in the apple and the chocolate in the ice cream sandwich help to bring out the honey and spice flavors in the beer while still keeping it light. I would recommend serving this dish with romantic candles. It’s good for people who need a bit of romance, but wish Christmas lasted well pasted December.