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8:30

You might think I have a drinking problem if I’m grateful for a beer.  Potato.  Pa-ta-toe.  But you’ve probably never had Great Lakes Christmas Ale.  No you haven’t or else you’d be on my Gratitude train for the day.

It comes out only during Christmas.  Duh… And it can be very difficult to find.  I’ll see FB posts from local friends, “Hey everyone!  Christmas Ale at the Kroger in Graceland!”  People have formula on where to find it and stores put a limit on the amount you can buy.  One year, we didn’t get any in Columbus.  I was flying to Buffalo and had a lay-over in Cleveland.  The flight got canceled and the next one home was 5 hours later.  I went to the bar for breakfast.  For food, people!  I wasn’t planning on knocking a couple back at 10 a.m.  But then I noticed they had Christmas Ale on tap.  I looked at the time and looked at the tap.  There was only one option after mid-season without Christmas Ale.  “A tall one please” I told the bartender.  She explained the big shortage and I asked for another.

There’s something about Christmas Ale.  It’s like the folks at Great Lakes spent the entire season in their footy PJ’s and figured out a way to bottle Christmas.  When you pop it, you can smell Grandma’s gingerbread cookies.  When you finished one, you’re left with the feelings of a kid on Christmas.  It’s like the time you went to bed and really REALLY hoped a pair of Guess Jeans were under the Christmas tree.  And you fell into a slumber 90% certain because you think you saw the receipt.  The kind of childish giddy feelings come with one Christmas Ale.  Everyone’s happy with one!  Two and it’s like you’ve ripped open the package at the exact spot of the precious triangle on the butt!  Have three and you’re bordering on the bad types of Christmas feelings.  Go pass your limit and it leaves you with the angry bitter family feelings of Christmas.  Swallow the last drop of your limit and it reminds you of the time at the dinner table when you scream over all the other screams, “You always love him more than any of us!  Why’d you even have me?!”  Yep, those Christmas moments.

Christmas in a bottle.  Today, I found Santa’s entire stash at our local grocery.  It’s tradition around here: the best and the worst of Christmas traditions.  And just like candy canes in July are disgusting, this stuff’s magic only works from November to January.  Find some and stick to the good kinds of Christmas.

Day 8: Tradition in a bottle.