Robin LeBlanc and Jordan St. John return for a Holiday Special regarding all things beer…



Jordan St. John: Robin, I’m in a festive mood. I’m holly, I’m jolly, and quite frankly my ding-donging levels are scarily high. 

Robin LeBlanc: I don’t think I needed to know about that last point, Jordan, but I’ll admit I’m feeling festive. 

JSJ: I can tell from the hat. You usually don’t have a red hat. 

RL: Well, the cat urinated on my usual one, so this is a loaner. 

JSJ: I like it! Especially the tassels and the sequins! Now let’s get down to business, Robin. 

There’s a jolly fat man coming down the chimney in just a few short days from now and apparently he requires refreshment. I put it to you that there must be a perfect beer I could leave Santa that would prevent me from getting a stocking full of coal.

RL: Are we taking pastry stouts into account, or are we being serious? Santa DOES like the cookies… 

JSJ: You’re asking me whether I’m serious about wanting to appease an all-seeing, all-knowing immortal elf who lives in a secret fortress wearing a velour onesie, Robin? 

RL: …Superman? Kidding.

Honestly, I think some good winter warmers are out there and if jolly old Saint Nick were to fly by Ontario, he wouldn’t say no to a bottle of Nickel Brook Kentucky Bastard, an 11.9% imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Or he could stay awake with a 2021 Cafe Del Bastardo, which is the same thing only with coffee. Both are sold for criminally cheap at around 11 or 12 bucks. 

JSJ: You kid, but Santa could probably send you to the Phantom Zone. 

Imperial stouts are an excellent choice! They’re high in everything a trans-dimensional toyetic demigod could possibly need in order to feel sustained. Calories! Alcohol! Chocolatey Flavour!

They’ve got that hint of vanilla and caramel from the oak! 

Can we make it more seasonal?

RL: Isn’t this the time of year when Oast House Brewers in Niagara releases Biere de Noël, the Belgian dark strong ale? Aged in whiskey barrels and nice and boozy, sure to make Rudolph’s nose glow bright red. [It sure gave me a gout attack – Ed.]

JSJ: A Biere de Noel! Rich in seasonal significance and umlauts! What a great idea!

The LCBO has one available as well, you know. The Gouden Carolus Christmas ale from Het Anker is still out there on shelves! Het Anker is one of my favourite breweries, and their Christmas Ale features a number of spices for that medieval Belgian taste. It’s 10.5% and has licorice and clove. You know, back when they mulled everything. 

RL: Well, if we’re talking stuff outside of Ontario, why not give Santa a selection? A good gift for myself and others is the St Bernardus selection pack, which comes with their Abt 12, Prior 8, Tripel, Watou Tripel, Pater 6, and the Wit. The price of it at the LCBO has gradually gone up over the years, but for the class of six beers you’re getting $23.95 is an absolute steal. 

JSJ: You know, Robin. If everyone takes our advice, that list-checkin’ sleigh jockey is going to be lit to the gills on high-test holiday hooch. He’ll be drawing pictures on the screens at NORAD. Do you have any suggestions under 5% alcohol in case Big Red wants to maintain?

RL: In my experience, Jordan, any large man who breaks into your house and leaves things instead of taking something is probably not looking to maintain. But if pressed, I’d probably suggest the O’Hara’s Irish Ales Pack or the Second Wedge Trail Mix Pack, the latter of which has a mix of high and low alcohol options.

JSJ: Well, that gives me a lot to work with. Hopefully with one of these options awaiting him, I’ll get what I really want for Christmas. And if bribery doesn’t work, we’ll have to go with plan B. 

RL: What’s plan B? 

JSJ: Attack and dethrone Santa.

RL: I don’t know what answer I was expecting. Anyways, all this talk has gotten me thirsty. What are you having?

JSJ: Black Oak Nox Aeterna. Now show me how to make an umlaut.