Up from the cellar...

Ok, so our "cellar" is our office, because New Orleans homes have no cellar, because we are like a foot above water level (if that.)

We brought a lot of beers down from Salem, including a couple Trader Joe's holiday Vintage Ale. Trader Joe's gets its annual beer from Unibroue and they are usually dark Belgian style. We had 2 2008s and a 2006. I brought one of the 2008s to the Beer Advocate beer swap a few months ago, and we still have one cellaring in the office. Tonight, after a crap ass Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to crack open the 2006 vintage.

It's good- while cold it pours dark, dark mahogany brown. About 1/4" or so of light tan foam. Smells like dried fruit, ginger, deep spices- kind of like fruitcake the way we make it at home (which is SO AWESOME.) It drinks easy, and it gets tastier as it warms to room temperature.

I think it's aged beautifully- it is so smooth and quaffable. I have a memory of the 2006 vintage still being a tasty brew, but you could taste every bit of the 9% ABV. In 2010, at the start of the holiday season, it's much drier and the flavors have mingled together to produce a really balanced flavor. Carbonation is low, sweetness is definitely lower than it originally was.

It's so good! And it was $4.99 for 750ml! Trader Joe's= genius!

I think we'll hold on to the 2008 vintage another year or so. Mmmm, maybe. Sad that I have no access to the 2010 vintage this year. It is funny that I'm drinking this "Dark Ale on Lees" holiday style beer on a day that was 78 degrees and beautiful. Cognitive dissonance, but I can definitely go with it.

Life is full of trade-offs- you just gotta go with what you think will make you happier at the end of the day.