The Masquerading Belgian Christmas Ale: Tröegs Mad Elf

Who doesn’t like the Christmas season? Here in the Northeast Christmas means cold wintery nights huddled around the fireplace with an apple cider,a fruit cake and spiked egg nog waiting in the wings. So when I drink these Christmas beers I’m looking for Christmas notes,  something that invokes and reminds me of being wrapped around the fireplace in a blanket or at the very least reminds me of how damn cold winter is. Sadly though this beer doesn’t do that and I’m not having thoughts of cuddling up to Its A Wonderful Life.

The beer pours a nice amber color with about half of an inch of head and it smells like a sweet trippel with the typical belgian yeasty smell aka banana smell. Take a nice sip and yuppers this is a belgian trippel, the high carbonation and the smooth texture is  something I crave in beers.  I get this weird metallic taste right up front and I can’t ignore that, its totally weird but honestly it goes away as you drink but at first I thought I got a skunk beer but no.

I  love the smooth mouthfeel of this beer, this is why I love belgian beers. It’s that creamy yeasty feeling that coats my tongue like a french kiss on a first date that shakes my britches. There’s barely any hop aftertaste in this and I’m left wondering if they used hops in this at all, which is again normally a good thing for me.

Overall: This beer has everything I look for in a Belgian beer, high carbonation, creamy texture, belgian yeasty banana flavors and high alcohol that messes me up quickly. If I was reviewing a Belgian beer I would say this was awesome and you all needed to try this but I’m not, I’m reviewing a Christmas beer. While I think this beer is awesome I don’t think its a Christmas ale. It doesn’t have anything that reminds me of winter, no pine, no cinnamon, no all spice, no clove, nothing that makes me think Christmas. Instead they opt for Cherries and honey and while this makes for a great Belgian beer it doesn’t necessary make for a great Christmas beer. If they took the Elf off of the label, changed the name and rebranded this is a Belgian Trippel, this would be awesome. Its like wanting a hybrid car and getting into something that looks like a Prius only to get the performance of a Corvette, which is a great car but not what I expected. Don’t get me wrong though I will have this beer again and again and again I just can’t consider this a holiday brew.

If you love Belgian beers as much as I do, try this but don’t try this looking for a Christmas beer because you will be disappointed, expect Belgian and you’ll be extremely happy you bought this beer. Oh did I mention the ABV of 11% makes this beer even that much better. Stay Thirsty but Stay Different.

About Irving

I'm just a guy who has a passion for good beer. Over the past few years I've been making it a point to introduce my friends to good quality beer and now, all of you. There's a world beyond cold activated cans, clydesdales, green bottles and Mexican clear bottled beer, you just need to tap that keg. Stay thirsty but stay different.

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