Compared to probably just about everyone else participating on this terrific blog site, I am definitely a relative amateur when it comes to the world of craft beers. I hate to admit it, but before I met BuBBy (my main partner in the Brain Gravy podcast, as well as a home brewer extraordinaire, and a contributor on this blog site) a few years ago, I was drinking Rolling Rock and thought Guinness was the height of beer existence. Now, thanks to BuBBy and all the amazing podcasts on The Beer Safari like SIDT, The Good Beer Show and The Beer Report, I've developed a pretty darned good appreciation, as well as a palate, for a good craft beer. Hell, I've come so far that when I was forced to drink a Corona a few weeks ago, and it was like drinking seltzer!!! My beer drinking life began, probably like everyone else, as an underaged teenager. Back then, it was whatever we could get our hand on to drink. In college, my roommates and I successfully managed to drink a different brand of beer every week for a year. Of course, being poor college students, the brands consisted of the usual like Budweiser, Miller, but also beers like Gablinger extra light, which came in a bright orange aluminum can and Stoney's (which bragged about having "no sugar added"). So, yes, I have been a long time expert in drinking the kind of beers that have made Sickpuppy and Father Spoon famous! As time went by, my taste has improved, and, as mentioned above, its only during the past few years that I have discovered the wonderful world of craft beer. So, with that preamble, I will attempt my first beer review for Beerporn! Being winter time here on the East Coast, I've been recently exploring winter ales. One of my favorite breweries is St. Bernardus, which is located in Belgium. They make wonderful beers like the Abt 12 and Tripel, and, although their beers are a bit pricey, I would highly recommend giving them a try. In any case, I was excited to find their Christmas Ale at my beer store, and quickly grabbed one to try. It came in a very handsome 750 ml corked bomber bottle. Its classified as a Belgian strong dark ale, and is a very healthy 10.0% ABV. It poured a nice dark brown color with a tan-colored head that was about a finger thick with nice lacing. I have learned to take a few moments to take in the aroma of a beer before rushing to a first taste. There was definitely the aroma of spices, along with a hint of cherries, plum and malts. Then the best part: the first taste! It has a fairly sweet taste. I can taste the flavors of malts, along with cherries, plums, and a sort of peppery cinnamon. The yeast flavor is there, but not overwhelming to my palate. It most definitely reminds me of Christmas; I can see myself drinking this beer instead of spiced eggnog around the Christmas tree! The carbonation is just right, and the flavor is light enough that the 10% ABV is well hidden. Overall, it is, so far, my favorite Christmas ale. It goes down maybe a bit too easily, but I would highly recommend this beer. In terms of a relative amateur, this beer is darned good! Ok, my first post is done. My goal is to try and bring things here from the perspective of a relative newbie to the world of craft beer, and I hope my posts are worthy of this great blog site. Until next post, happy drinking!!!