Can you think of a better way to both celebrate the holiday season and prepare for Christmas than with 12 straight days of beer releases? Go on, just try and think of a better way. We’ll wait. Well, not really, because you’re reading this long after we’ve typed it. Regardless, you know who does think releasing 12 beers in 12 days to start December is a great idea? 12 Gates Brewing, that’s who. 12 Gates of Christmas, which kicks off on December 1, will see the Williamsville brewery release a new beer each day, culminating in the release of 2017 Grave Concerns Russian Imperial Stout on Dec. 12 (which also happens to be the date of their 2nd Anniversary Party).
12 Gates Head Brewer Scott Shuler admits that the process was certainly a daunting undertaking, though he and his crack brewing team was up for the challenge.
“The process to create 12 special beers for a marathon 12 day release was daunting, but fun. The final beer (2017 Grave Concerns) was the most challenging, but insightful,” Shuler says. “To make a big, thick Russian Imperial Stout on our pilot system we had to create a new process to overcome the logistics. We are thrilled to release the 2017 Grave Concerns on the 12th for our anniversary party.”
12 Gates of Christmas opens up with Pecan Pie Porter (5.8%) on Dec 1., 12 Gates’ base porter beer aged on toasted pecans, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and graham crackers (look for strong notes of toasted pecans and pie spices). Additionally on Dec. 1, 12 Gates will also debut Automail IPA (6.5%), a Winter IPA packed with tangerine and pink lemonade flavors and aromas. The beer is brewed with Mosaic, Amarillo & Azacca and dry hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, Azacca and El Dorado.
“This Winter IPA was designed to shake off the winter blues with tropical and fruity flavors and aromas,” 12 Gates says of Automail. “The balanced body doesn’t make the beer too smooth or too bitter, but just right. The 6.5% ABV will keep you warm on these chilly winter evenings.”-
Dec. 2 brings Hot Chocolate Amber (4.1%), a pilot amber base aged on cacao nibs and infused with toasted marshmallows (the chocolate notes are offset with sweet and toasty notes from the toasted marshmallows and Cranberry Wheat (4.8%) debut on Dec. 3, a seasonal wheat base treated with organic cranberries (fruity and tart notes).
Peppermint Grave Concerns Russian Imperial Stout (8.4%) comes out Dec. 4, 2016 Grave Concerns infused with peppermint candy canes (the peppermint starts off light then as you drink more the peppermint oils build up on your pallet), Dec. 5 brings Dragon Fruit & Prickly Pear Berliner Weisse (3.6%), 12 Gates’ Berliner Weisse base aged on dragon fruit and prickly pears (this beer is very tropical and tart) and on Dec. 6, Figgy Pudding Porter (5.8%), a base porter aged on (brandy aged) figs, black currants, and treated with nutmeg (with the smooth and English Porter base you will find notes of spice, sweetness, and figs), hits taps.
Wassail Blonde (4.2%) returns on Dec. 7, Barbaric Blonde treated with homemade wassail (oranges, cloves, brandy, cinnamon, ginger, and cider)(this beer is smooth, spicy, with a nice apple finish), Dec. 8 sees the release of Fruitcake Amber (4.1%), Santora’s Amber Ale aged on raisins, cranbeeries, dried cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted walnuts (this beer will give you the experiencing a drinkable fruitcake) and Pumpkin Pie Blonde (4.2%) comes out on Dec. 9, Yoga Pants American Blonde aged on cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, fresh ginger, and nutmeg (this beer drinks like a nice slice of pumpkin pie).
Winding down 12 Gates of Christmas is Gingerbread Wheat (4.8%) on Dec. 10, a seasonal wheat aged on ginger and spices to create gingerbread (this beer is balanced and will drink like liquid gingerbread), Dec. 11 brings Vitriol (Coffee, Cacao, Grave Concerns), 2016 Grave Concerns Double Stout aged on cacao nibs, whisky aged coffee beans, and Irish Whiskey French Oak (big, dark, roasty, look for notes of chocolate, dark oak, and coffee) and finally on Dec. 12, 2017 Grave Concerns arrives.
“The culmination of the 12 Gates of Christmas finishes on our 2 year anniversary party,” the brewery says. “We made a special pilot batch of Grave Concerns. The 2017 iteration of our Grave Concerns Stout bumps up the Double Stout to a Russian Imperial Stout. This beer is heavy, thick, and a delight to sip. Look for notes of coffee, chocolate, dark oak, and vanilla. We will have a limited bottle release along with a special keg tapping on the 12th at 12:12pm.”
Try them all to win bragging rights for conquering the entire list and get a free commemorative custom shirt for doing so. Oh, and you also get to enjoy 12 pretty kick ass beers in the process, so, you know, that’s pretty cool too.
“We began the 12 Gates beers back in October with a brainstorming session with the production staff,” Shuler adds. “I wanted everyone’s input and ideas to make a nice well-rounded beer list. The only beer we brought back from last year was the Wassail Blonde. We enjoyed making this one and the brewery smells lovely while preparing the Wassail. The other 11 beers are new and unique.
Ask your bartender for a punch card to participate. Shirts will be custom made following the promotion.
For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/535674450120844/.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.