Troegs Mad Elf: Christmas in October!

Sometimes things line up just right, and events conspire to create a wonderful moment.  I had such a moment last night, and it involved elves, otters and an early dose of Christmas magic.

The wheels were set in motion late last week, when Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, one of my all-time favorite Christmas shows, randomly popped into my head.  I had all but forgotten this Jim Henson holiday classic, and the moment I remembered it, I impulsively ordered it on DVD from Amazon.

I came home Tuesday evening to find it on the kitchen counter, still in the shipping box. I opened it up and showed it to the kids who wanted to watch it on the spot.  But it was getting late, so we agreed to set a date for the next evening to sit down and watch it together.  So last night was the viewing party.

I stopped in at my local liquor store on a whim last night, just to see what beers they had on hand.  They’ve been adding lots of great craft offerings lately, and it’s been fun to watch the selection grow.  Well, when I turned into the beer aisle, I was greeted by bombers of my hands-down favorite holiday beer, Troegs Mad Elf!  

I tried many, many “holiday” beers last year, only to be disappointed that none of them tasted like Christmas. They were fine beers, but most of them were just brews that were a little stronger or darker or sweeter or spicier than the usual offerings.  There was nothing in their flavor that made me think of my favorite holiday.

But Mad Elf was different.  It’s a strong, sweet ale, brewed with cherries and honey that tastes a little like fruit cake, a little like mead, and a whole like Christmas to me.  And at 11% ABV, it’s the perfect sipping companion for an evening spent gazing at the tree.

We went through a lot of Mad Elf last year, so I asked if I could get a case of bombers.  The clerk proceeded to pull every bottle he had off the shelf and in the cooler and put them in a box for me.  He had received a case of Mad Elf that day and had put them all out.  In other words, I cleaned them out!

So last night, we snuggled up on the couch, popped in the DVD of Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas and I popped open a bottle of Mad Elf.  It was a wonderful evening, where I was transported into the warm bosom of Christmas for about an hour.  All that was missing was a little black licorice and the smell of pine.

If you’re a fan of happy holidays and strong, sweet beers, I highly recommend you look for Troegs Mad Elf, and sooner rather than later.  I’m not the only one head over heels for this nectar, and it tends to sell out long before Bing Crosby is piping through the speakers at the mall.

Heck, my local liquor store sold out in one day!  🙂

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15 Comments on “Troegs Mad Elf: Christmas in October!”

  1. Rob Crozier
    October 21, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Was this beer from last years batch or is this years offering out already?

    • October 21, 2010 at 10:58 am #

      Last year’s is long gone (except for the one in my garage!) so this was this year’s batch for sure. They also had Soutehrn Tier’s Krampus, another holiday offering – one I can live without.

      • Rob Crozier
        October 21, 2010 at 11:33 am #

        I had my last Mad Elf last week (from last year) and it definitely lost something sitting in my fridge all this time. I guess that will teach me not to finish them all this year. I’m surprised you didn’t like Krampus; although not a very “holiday” type beer, I really enjoyed the bottle I had just the other night – hoppy, yet sweet with hints caramel and toffee.

        • October 21, 2010 at 11:39 am #

          It’s the “holiday” thing, Rob. Last time I had Krampus I was searching for the taste of Christmas and it didn’t deliver.

  2. Rob Crozier
    October 21, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Try it again but think “Halloween” and you’ll enjoy it much more! The Krampus art on the label is very Halloweenish, right? I guess picking it up for $4 on the “singles” shelf in Boonton made it taste even better!!

    • October 21, 2010 at 11:51 am #

      I think this year I’ll enjoy the holiday beers more now that I have my go-to Christmas beer. I’ll pick up a Krampus soon. Southern Tier is always a great value.

  3. October 21, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Wow, that Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas is something I haven’t thought about in years! (Crazy how things come to you.) I dug the Mad Elf too, but probably not enough to buy a case of bombers! I’ll look for it now that I know its on the shelves again.

    I didn’t care for Krampus either, but I did really enjoy the strong dark Belgian Christmas ales like the Noel from Gouden Carolus and the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. Good stuff!

    • October 21, 2010 at 11:57 am #

      The holiday Belgians are usually can’t miss, Scott. And Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas is still as great as it was when they played it over and over and over again on HBO when we were little.

      I swear, all I needed was an Atari 2600 and new pajamas and it would’ve been just like Christmas morning when I was 12 (minus the beer of course).

  4. Mark S.
    October 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Jim – another local to try would be the Riverhorse Belgian Freeze (originally known as Belgian Frostbite).

    I will make sure to keep an eye out for the “Mad Elf”…

    • October 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

      I’ll look for it. I enjoyed their MIlk Stout.

  5. October 22, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    You didn’t have beer? Weird. I could always expect a can or two of Schaffer (I know, I know) in the stocking. I thought all families were like that.

  6. Mark S.
    October 30, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    Hey, a little late but I picked up a six-pack of this at my semi-local Wegman’s (i.e. Bethlehem PA). They had a LOT of Troeg’s Mad Elf in stock, plus a lot of other cool stuff (Avery, Great Divide, etc.). Including bottles of the Bethlehem Brew Works’ brews, which I hadn’t seen before. And to top it off, they had a “Build Your Own Six-Pack” display with a bunch of craft, mainstream, and semi-mainstream brews to choose from. My loving wife was very patient with me as I dithered…


    • November 1, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      That’s great, Mark. I love to discover craft beer popping up in new places. It sounds like they’re doing it right, too, which is very cool.


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