To Ølekalender 2018 (Advent Calendar)

It’s the moooost wonderful tiiime for the beeeeeer. Pretty sure I made that joke last year. Nothing but consistency here at Beer Voyage.

After the slightly disappointing HonestBrew Ultimate box last year, we’ve returned to Denmark this year (like in 2016) and plumped for the To Ølekalender from, err.. To Øl!

There were about 4 or 5 boxes I really liked the look of this year but this box was less than £100 and other than the Ms. Series earlier this year, I’ve been a bit neglectful towards To Øl so thought a box of 24 of their beers would solve that.

The box (and I’m assuming all the labels) are designed by the Danish brewery’s very own art director Kasper Ledet and is beautiful in its simplicity. The casual winter images dotted around the sides work well against the white box and the black logo and numbering on top.

I’ve written about advent calendars in great detail before, you’re only really here to see what was in the box so let’s just get straight to it.

Fuck Art, Winter is Coming // Belgian Tripel 8%

A good start here. I actually have a 750ml bottle of this in the cupboard but I’m never really in the mood to drink that much of the same beer so it’s sat dormant for a year or two. I’d usually be annoyed to get a beer I’ve already got but not so here.

It’s definitely a Christmas beer in both name and ingredients. It promised coriander, cardamom and orange peel. Thankfully the coriander is not the dominant flavour (it is sick and wrong) with the cardamom and orange peel combining with it to deliver a lovely Belgian Tripel. It’s pretty easy drinking for a Tripel and I’ve polished it off pretty quickly so we’re off to a good start.

Gose To Hollywood // Gose 3.8%

I think this might be one of the first sour beers I ever had, It’s at least the first sour beer I remember actually liking so I’ve logged it away in my head as one of my gateway sour beers.

Revisiting this beers with a more refined beer palette (man, I am such a dickhead for writing that), I’m surprised that I can taste a lot of orange fruit here. My underlying memory is one a salty sourness but this time around it’s got that but quite a lot of fruitiness too. It’s a shame it’s in an advent calendar because this would be perfect to drink in the sunshine.

I’m pleased to get a beer like this because as much as you want dark beers as it’s that time of year for them, it’s always a welcome departure to have a beer like this to cut through them.

Snowball Saison // Saison 8%

Feeling festive today so added PROPZ to the customary photo. Another light beer with a saison this time. I enjoyed To Øl’s own explanation of this beer so thought I’d share here:

“Enough heavy dark obnoxious sweet super malty x-mas and winter beers. When you eat heavy duck with fat gravy, the last thing you want is another heavy sweet malt liquor! NO! you want something that can help you digest the dinner, ease your stomach and cleanse your throat. And that is exactly what Snowball Saison will do. It is a SUPER sparkling crisp and dry Saison that has been re-fermented with milk acid bacteria and dry hopped over and over to give the beer a crisp and smooth tart finish (not to mention.... there is a lot of hops of course...)”

Whilst I didn’t save it to have when I’m eating heavy duck with fat gravy, I can see their point. This is a super dry and crisp saison that would cut through any rich food - it definitely lingers in the mouth for a while afterwards. It packs a punch at 8% and definitely is up there as one of the stronger saisons I’ve had.

We’re only into the 3rd day of this box but it’s been a great reminder of how much I like To Øl’s label designs in general. Hats off to Mr. Ledet.

A Peeling Pale // Pale Ale 5%

Hmm, not really much to say about this one. The can says it’s a pale ale made with orange peel and you can definitely taste the citrus notes in it from the fruit and the citra hops but I don’t have much else to say.

It’s a very well made American pale ale but it feels a bit at odds with what came before (interesting styles or interpretations of Christmas beers) and I’ve drank many beers similar to this. I’d probably lap this up on tap somewhere in the summertime but on a cold, wet December evening, it’s a bit lacking.

This probably comes across more negative than it should. Hopefully tomorrow brings a more fitting beer.

Beers to follow as I drink them!