Ah, January Thaw, what a cruel temptress thou art. The temperatures dip and dive and skyrocket like a rollercoaster—or a junkie. I’ve been busy making observations on the state of the world every day on the drive home from work. For once, I catch a break from the people who bitch about the cold (as if winter was known for vitamin D and rhododendrons!). I go to the gym, work the legs, the chest, the arms, the legs, the chest, the arms. I get home. I walk inside and say some disgustingly obscene comments in a high-pitched voice to the cat. Jazz blasts forth from the speakers and I shout some more slurs with cathartic glee. I start to dance. I lose my shirt, my shorts, and pay homage both to Tom Cruise in Risky Business and to my preschool years.
Meat and potatoes, meat and potatoes.
It really is that time of the year.
I am surrounded by the sweet sounds of shattering resolutions—stillbirths (or abortions, really), hearty foods, and strong drink.
Winter is here, I finally admit to myself a month late. I collapse upon the kitchen table in my skivvies, seeking out the bottle opener, only to find it poking into my side as I sift through the bills waiting to be paid, newspapers now collecting dust as demoted ephemera. My weapon in hand, I approach the fridge and pull out my conquest.
To my delight, I was able to find a bottle of one of Le Trou du Diable’s many fantastic beers. Being a teeny-tiny little brewery in Shawinigan, Quebec, it’s rare to find stateside often. That being said, if you have a chance, pick up an offering when the opportunity presents itself.
La Grivoise de Noel loosely translates to “ribald Christmas.” In nothing but underpants, I found this masturbatory salute to be indulgently appropriate for the occasion. And how appropriate the beer! Like the Thaw, this beer is a tribute to pure deceit from its overtly invigorating nature—not something typically expected from a winter beer—to its alcohol by volume. Approaching 8% ABV, you do not get the alcohol at all.
The worst part about a lying tramp isn’t her lies, but her omission of the truth.
La Grivoise doesn’t come out and say it, but it really is a Belgian strong ale. It doesn’t take much to tease a confession out of it, really. Sure, it will tell you it’s a “holiday ale” brewed with “honey” and “spices,” but it doesn’t tell you how it got those scars or why it ducks behind cars while walking down the street at the first sound of a siren, or why it never returns your fucking calls.
You start to become a little suspicious shortly after the pour. It’s a bright garnet color in the glass with an off-white head and some very strong, very attractive carbonation. Let’s call her “bubbly,” as if she’d put that in her online dating profile to lure in poor, unsuspecting good guys just looking for love.
God bless America.
There’s a strange coppery stench to the beer, or perhaps iron. It quickly fades as it comes to room temperature and what you’re left with is really no real hops to speak of, toasted malt, nutmeg, orange blossom, and banana. There, that’s the ticket. That’s all you really need to know right away. It is definitely a Belgian.
Then comes the brown sugar taste— well, maybe burnt sugar with plum and overripe banana finishing off. Maybe there’s some spice there. I think this may be some gross confabulation, but I kind of get some cardamom and clove in there. Of course, the nutmeg pushes through in the end.
There’s a satisfying stickiness to the beer. It establishes a fine middle ground between thick and thin on the tongue. A delightful carbonation prickles the tongue just slightly.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t forgive her for maxing out your credit cards.
*8.0 out of 10.*