SunUp's The Nut Before Christmas

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Beer: The Nut Before Christmas
Brewery: SunUp Brewing (322 E Camelback Road, 602-279-8909)
Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 4.2 percent

'Twas the Nut Before Christmas, and all through the bar,
People were coming, from near and from far,
For a delicious nut brown ale and some holiday cheer,
Nothing quite warms the spirit like this English-style beer.

In December '09 the Nut made its debut,
And made its way into glasses for me and for you.
'Twas named by a staffer, inspiring this rhyme,
And brewed with ingredients from Greenwich Mean Time.

I purchased a growler at the Chandler Whole Foods, 
And brought it back home to share with some dudes.
Into some pint glasses the brew then did tumble, 
Its clear burgundy hue causing stomachs to rumble.

Atop the dark brew there arose such a clatter:
A layer of froth that looked like pancake batter.
More rapid than eagles the aromas then came,
So good I did whistle and call them by name.

"Toasted peanuts! And biscuits baked long by a fire! 
Crumbly chocolate, and coffee, my morning desire!
Light hints of sourdough provide a backbone 
To the pleasing, nutty, roasty overtone."

The brew's flavor, while not as superb as the nose, 
Is solid as far as an English brown goes. 
Baking cocoa at first, sourdough, then nuts, deeply roasted, 
Earthy English hop bitterness and biscuits, now toasted.

The swallow is smooth, letting me savor
The notes of coffee that cap the light, balanced flavor. 
While the body's a bit thin -- a watery medium-light -
The dry finish and gentle bubbles are just right.

The Nut Before Christmas is on tap at SunUp, 
And in growlers at Whole Foods. Look the locations up. 
Grab yourself a pint or two and you just might
Guarantee you a merry Christmas -- or at least a good night.

Food pairing suggestions:
If you're going to lay out some cookies for Santa, make it kolache, a traditional Czech dessert pastry that holds a dollop of fruit jam rimmed by dough that's been sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. The Nut Before Christmas adds smooth nuttiness to the pastry while its biscuity notes give the dough additional strength against the strong fruit filling. The brew's moderate English hop bitterness lightens the pairing after each sip.

Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to good beer.

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