It's our pleasure to bring you "Tannenbaum: a Celebration of Old World Strong Ales," an event that will run from November 21 through December 31. During that period of time, we'll be dedicating five or six of our 14 taps to rare (and delicious) European strong ales from Belgium, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France, and Italy, and decking out our tavern to resemble a European winter wonderland.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 21) we start Tannenbaum, our six week focus on European strong and holiday ales in our cozy little tavern, which we are going to deck out to resemble a European ski lodge (with no fewer than three pairs of vintage skis acquired by Kelsey, our Winter-Wonderland Aesthetics Czar).
But, as excited as I am about those skis and the onset of Holiday cheer generally, I'm most excited about the beers. Working with several reliable importers, we've arranged a list that will keep you feeling like a kid in candy store throughout the entirety of Tannenbaum. These are special beers, many of which have not been seen on draft in Pittsburgh before. Some of them are old classics that we think that you NEED to taste (so that we can order them again!). Others are one-time brews that will never be exactly replicated, and you need to get them while you can.
We're starting off tomorrow with five taps, and before I reveal what they are, let me also encourage you to join us TONIGHT, as we rotate beer specials to kick a few kegs to make room for our new fermented-malt-beverage buddies.
Without further ado, here is the Tannenbaum tap list for Tomorrow:
1. SCHNEIDER & SOHN AVENTINUS (Germany)
This beer will be our house beer during the course of Tannenbaum. It's one of my favorite winter beers, a beer that warms your whole body, with a hefty dose of malt, yeast and (of course) alcohol. A perfect combination of the the caramel and dark fruit characteristics of the malts and the banana and clove flavors imparted by the yeast, Schneider’s Aventinus is one of the gold standards of the Weizenbock style. We chose this as our house beer because its a versatile beer for food pairings, a beer that drinks as well with sausage or beef stew as it does with something sweet (or as a stand alone dessert).
2. LOVERBEER PRUSS PERDU (Italy)
Who says that the Italians can’t make Lambic (well, other than the Belgian Council of Lambic Breweries, which has restricted the use of the term)? While they may not be able to call this beer “Lambic,” it is a beer brewed closely to the style of the famous fruit lambics brewed in the southwest of Brussels. This particular beer spends a year maturing in oak barrels after being fermented with various lactic bacteria and wild yeasts. It spends that time maturing on Bure Roca pears, a nearly extinct pear indigenous to the Piedmonte region.
3. DES ROCS GRAND CRU (Belgium)
Des Rocs has been making beer since 1979 in West Belgium, just miles from the French border. They brew classic Abbey ale styles, and their Grand Cru is an example of just that, a high-gravity brown ale with classic notes of Belgian yeast, a frothy head, and notes of dried cherry, fresh bread, and brown sugar.
4. PROFESSOR FRITZ BRIEM 13TH CENTURY GRUT BIER (Germany)
He's baaacckkk...that is the mad Professor of beer, Fritz Briem, a professor at veritable Weihenstephan school of brewing, who makes the 1809 Berliner that we enjoyed during the IBCs Oktoberfest. This beer is an interpretation of German-Style Gruit, an archaic beer style that used herbs, flowers, and spices to flavor beer (as opposed to hops, which became widely accepted in Europe only after the Reformation. Professor Briem spiced this beer with lorbeer (bay leaves), ingwer (ginger), kummel (caraway), anis (anise), rosemarin (rosemary), and enzian (gentian). It is brewed with water, wheat & barley malt, hopped with “pollinated wild hops,” and fermented using top-fermenting yeast.
5. ALVINNE CUVEE DE MORTAGNE (Belgium)
During the lead-up to Tannenbuam, we tapped Alvinne's Cuvee Sofie -- Kweeper, a quince-fruited version of their Barrel-Aged blonde. It was one of the finest beers that I've ever consumed. To show the breadth of this brewery, we've gotten three more Alvinne beers to last us for Tannenbaum, and Mortagne made the most sense to tap first. It starts as a complex, dark barleywine fermented with Alvinne's famous "Morpheus" yeast blend from the Cote de Rhone. That beer is then barrel aged, picking up more funk and barrel notes from wine barrels of the prestigious Pomerol commune in Bordeaux. It is a whopping 13% bruiser that somehow drinks like a sleeping kitten, an animal which you may resemble after one or two of these beers.
*DE GLAZEN SAISON D’ERPE-MERE (Belgium)*
*B.O.M. (BELGIAN ORIGINAL MALTBAKERY) TRIPORTEUR FULL MOON 12 BELGIAN OAK ALE (Belgium)*