Oh, yeah, it’s back. Deschutes Brewery’s Jubelale. In my mind this is the optimal winter brew. Strong, lightly spiced, aromatic, and not too heavy, and like Christmas it seems to begin earlier every year. A gentle smoked caramel flavor serves as a base to this medium-bodied ale, and the aftertaste lingers lightly, even pleasantly, reminding me to take another swig, tantalizing all the parts of my tongue, and on into my throat.

I was so pleased last Thursday when I walked down to TJ’s near 39th and Holgate to pick up some poker fuel, when after deciding on the Lagunitas IPA (fantastic), my eyes lit upon a gleaming column of orange and purple, and without breaking stride from my glee I placed two 5.99 six-packs into my overburdened basket. The cashier winked, “Only the essentials, eh?” as I’d unloaded 3 sixers, two bottles of wine, and one pack of 2 frozen chicken burritos. I hurried back to poker, jammed one of my jubels sixers into the freezer (I horded the other two and one bottle of $3 wine to warm the hearth of my own home), nuked up a burrito, and poured some wine. Poker went well, after rapidly losing my initial buy-in stakes ($5), I bought back in ($5) to win a hand and never looked back. Good times, especially after the accellerated Jubel-chill finished.