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Speaking of Christmas Bells

Bell's Christmas Ale is a nice way to ring in the holidays

I met my friends Brad and Rachael last night at World of Beer to catch up on things. It also gave me the chance to try a holiday ale that I was curious about.

Bell’s Christmas Ale (Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Scottish Ale; ABV: 5.8) is an interesting, somewhat unconventional Scottish ale. Dark brown in color, it has subtle notes of sweet caramel malt and toffee complimented by cinnamon spices and floral hops with a slightly bitter finish. There’s a nice balance between the malty sweetness and floral hops, with the latter not too pungent as is the case with Anchor Christmas Ale (Anchor Brewing Co.; San Francisco, CA; Winter Warmer; ABV: 5.5).

For round two, I ordered a pint of Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter (Ballast Point Brewing Co.; San Diego, CA; Porter; ABV: 6.0), a rich full-bodied porter. Dark chocolate in color, Black Marlin is silky smooth from start to finish, with big notes of chocolate and coffee balanced by roasted malt and Cascade hops. It reminds me of a traditional British porter brewed with American hops. Definitely a beer worth reeling in!

I highly recommend both of these beers, and wish everyone a Happy New Year!

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