Beer: Christmas Morning
Brewery: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)
Style: Stout – Imperial/Double Milk
9.2% ABV / 55 IBU
At this point, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has almost enough variations on its Gingerbread Stout to fill a 12 Days of Christmas box. All of them are show-stoppers and the Richmond brewery has proven itself to be as adept at barrel-aging robust ales as it has been in turning out crowd-pleasing easy-drinking lagers. Gingerbread Stout is such a stone-cold classic that it ought to be available year ‘round, and all of Hardywood’s turbo-charged milk stouts that use GBS as the base are winners.
Here’s one way to start your Christmas morning right: Waffles or a nice breakfast casserole. But those things take some time to prep, so might as well crack open a cold tallboy of Hardywood’s Christmas Morning at the same time. Every ingredient would be at home on a brunch menu, so why not? Christmas Morning is basically the Gingerbread Stout conditioned on locally sourced coffee from Richmond’s Blanchard Coffee Roasters. It’s an imperial milk stout that packs a punch but also has a nice medium body and silky-smooth mouthfeel.
Perhaps the best part of a beer like Christmas Morning is that it simultaneously conveys the spirit of a milk stout and a coffee stout and a gingerbread cookie without leaning too aggressively in one direction or another. The ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey create the essence of the gingerbread, while the roast notes from the malt and coffee help to create the sensation of burnt/caramelized sugars from the typically overbaked cookies. You’d rather drink Christmas Morning than eat gingerbread cookies, which is a pretty neat trick. Maybe Hardywood can find a way to make the same thing happen with fruitcake next year.
For more info on Hardywood, please head here.