Half a decade ago (!!!!) I sarcastically suggested to Kole that he should start giving me 8 beers for Chanukah – one for each night, to go with my candles. Since he is not the kind of guy to take a subtle hint, this somehow morphed into me writing the #8BeersOfChanukah every year, as part of my seasonal tradition to get myself into the holiday spirit. After all, 8 beers would make almost anyone feel pretty festive, would it not?

Since this year has been rather quiet on my end – almost radio silence from me – I thought I’d make my stellar return with Radio the Mothership, by Hamilton’s beer OG beer darling, Collective Arts Brewing. After all, what could be better than fumbling my way through a long overdue post after a year of moderation now that I can’t handle more than a beer or two then by re-emerging with an 8.5% ABV Double Dry Hopped Double IPA, weighing in with 100 IBUs? Go big or go home, am I right? Oh wait, I am at home already, sipping this Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hopped brew that will only set you back $4.95. Might as well kick off 8 craaaaaaaaaaaaazy nights with an 8% beer.

I try to get a head start on this series by a few days, so what could be more appropriate for the first night of Chanukah than a doozy of a boozy beer that bears the nickname I use for my maternal parental unit, the Mothership. I even kicked the day off right, by radioing her this morning on my bus ride to work to wish her a happy birthday. She doesn’t drink, but I once got her to try a tiny sip of an IPA and she pretended to like it, so this one’s for you, Mothership! L’Chaim!

Appearance: Hazy golden orange colour with a lingering white head.

Aroma: Heavy citrus bomb with some piney notes. Lime zest, mandarine zest, a fresh box of matzos. It smelled like having a picnic of fresh lemons and matzos under a pine tree. Did I mention my picnics are not much fun if that’s what I pack for a snack?

Taste: Bread notes on the palate, more matzos, hints of caramel, fresh lemon and tangerine juice, and guava for some reason.

Aftertaste: Lingering citrus hoppiness, with grapefruit rind standing out. Kole kept noting pine on the aftertaste, but he is of course wrong. Some fresh mango juice notes.

Food pairing: I’m on a carb kick much to my nutritionist’s urging to give them up, so I think it would go well with something with a flakey crust, like a British-style chicken pot pie made with loads of butter, duck à l’orange, or something that combines crusty and savory with a hint of sweetness like marmalade. There’s a lot of bold flavours happening here so a very hearty food pairing will work well.

Overall: This went down very easily for someone who mostly abstains from alcohol these days. Start your Chanukah party with this one and you’ll lose every dreidl spin against your Google Home Mini, just like Kole did.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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