The day after Thanksgiving (AKA ‘Black Friday’) is the opening day of the Christmas Shopping season, and it is marked by midnight openings of Big Box Retail Stores, One Day ONLY! sales, people camping out days in advance to take advantage of those sales, and in particularly spectacular years, riots at stores to get at the merchandise. This year there were supposed to be various union organized protests at Walmart stores across the country, although if there were any they seemed to be largely ignored by the bargain seeking public.
For me, Black Friday has nothing to do with shopping. It is a day in which I sleep in a bit after eating too much on Thanksgiving, a day in which I sleep off yet another disappointing Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day Loss, this year to the hated Redskins (and Good God, the idea of my favorite team facing Robert Griffin III twice a year for the next decade fills me with dread, as he is the quarterback that Michael Vick was supposed to be, except he is serious about the QB craft, actually working at it by watching film and studying and doing drills and having his receivers practice endlessly to get their timing down instead of relying solely on his physical talent as Vick did; RGIII is, if anything, a better natural athlete than Vick; and something else, something else…oh yeah, he is not a fucking dumbass like Vick was), and it is the first day on which I will drink a Christmas Beer.
The initial Christmas Beer of 2012 is an old favorite, Samuel Smith’s Winter Warmer. Seeing the ever changing yet still familiar label* with the Bill Shakespeare quote is the first harbinger that my favorite time of year is coming soon. I will not drink this before Black Friday, nor will I drink any after Twelfth Night, but I am hardcore like that. Like Omar Little, I have a code.
At this stage, with the proliferation of seasonal brews, this barely qualifies as a ‘Christmas Beer’ as it is not spicy nor especially in high in alcohol nor amped up in any way, but I do not really care. It is smooth and good and only comes out at the end of the year, and that is enough for me, 7.5/10.
*The 2012 label is a bit of a letdown. Usually it depicts Dickensian or Elizabethan or Edwardian revelers in a Christmas scene. This year it depicts two rugby players in action. I suppose rugby has some winter/Christmas connotations, but damn it, I am American, and I demand that Samuel Smith confine themselves to my predisposed notions of an English Yuletide!