Holiday beer review: Tröegs Mad Elf
By Stephanie L. Smith
Elves can easily be found on many shelves across the country this holiday season, but there’s one elf who only appears in the beer cellars of those living in the upper East Coast and Ohio: Tröegs Mad Elf.
Founded in 1996 by brothers John and Chris Trogner and located in Hershey,
Pennsylvania, Tröegs Brewing Company produces 16 beers, which are divided evenly between year-round and seasonal offerings, while limiting distribution to nearby states to maintain beer freshness.
Those who encounter the Mad Elf are in for a festive treat. He’s a Belgian strong ale, providing a refreshing alternative to the Scottish ales and winter warmers that dominate this time of year.
Thick yeast with a blend of cloves, ripe dark cherries and bananas hit your nose as you raise your glass for the first sip. Gone is that Belgian ale kick to the taste buds. Instead, this brew has all the ingredients of an alcoholic fruitcake. Honey and caramel swirl together, providing the liquid cake’s glaze. Molasses, tart cherries, and plum mingle together, creating the meaty “cake” with a nutty Bourbon finish. If your Mad Elf is cold, expect an odd cherry cough syrup aftertaste, however, it’s subtle enough not to distract you from enjoying him. If he’s warm, the medicinal taste is non-existent.
Extremely smooth and sippable, you’ll forget this little guy weighs in at 11 percent ABV, so be careful with your merry-making, otherwise you might resemble the blitzed creature on the label.
Making his first appearance around Halloween, Tröegs Mad Elf is available through December. Visit Tröegs’ brew finder to see if you’re lucky enough to catch him.