A Taste of the Holidays – Nog Nog, Who’s There?

When you have a chance to make a fun beer with good friends, you’ve gotta do it. Particularly when the recipe provides you a chance to pull out a terrible dad joke. 

A few weeks back, we were talking with Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez, the chef/owners at Piccolo and Chaval in Portland, kicking around the idea of having an event together. Talk about pairing food and beer naturally turned towards business and family. As our conversation meandered, Ilma mentioned that she could tell the holidays were coming up fast, because folks were already asking for when their house-made eggnog would be available. 

Boom! Inspiration hit, and the quest to make a beer that played off the flavors of eggnog was born.

From the beginning, we knew the classic spices of eggnog – vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg – would be a part of the final product. But we really wanted this new beer to be a reflection of what makes the eggnog at Chaval so special, which is to use sherry (and maybe a few other secret ingredients) as part of their magic recipe. Those flavors bring out a nutty/almond/fruity flavor, along with the spices, making for a nog that is smooth and delicious, but not too thick.

To make Nog Nog, we used a large percentage of malted oats in the grist, and added some lactose to give a smooth, rich mouthfeel. The beer was then aged with cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and vanilla beans, and finished with almond extract. The end result is a beer that tastes like a mashup of spiced cookies and almond biscotti. In other words, a celebration in a glass!  We had a blast making this beer, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We hope everyone keeps nogging out there, and wish you and yours a safe, joyous and peaceful holiday season.