Tradition’s a funny thing. As Heidegger reminds us, “when tradition becomes master, it does so in such a way that what it transmits is made so inaccessible, proximally and for the most part, that it rather becomes concealed.” Despite the prevalent facades of permanence that accompany the intergenerational transmission of custom and belief, deeper connections to meaning can grow hidden, superseded by the simulacra and chimerical fog of the spectacle, and the subjective projection that informs so much of our objective engagement. However, as Heidegger poignantly affirms, history is nothing more than a process that is always-already being created and re-created – and tradition is no different.
Take Dageraad’s annual celebratory year-end beer, Anno 2017. Since its first release in 2014, this strong golden ale has been my top local holiday release, and a favourite among guests to the family home. Brewed with Okanagan pears and Indian coriander, this beer encapsulates so much of what I love about Dageraad – that effortless meeting of old and new, industrial Burnaby and the Dageraadplaats of Antwerp; that affirming dialogue between the best parts of our collective past, the labours of the present, and our hopes for the future. From trimming the tree with the family to welcoming friends in from the cold, a glass of Anno has become a stalwart companion on December nights since its first release in 2014. And just like that dialogic meeting of past and present at the heart of Dageraad’s noble mission, Anno has quickly become part of my family’s holiday traditions and history, right alongside the homemade eggnog and the endless Lusitanian sweet treats.
Now maybe it’s the candied fruit on the nose, or those honeyed, bready notes that create such a perfect foundation for the coriander, the pear and that warm, boozy finish, but there’s just something about this beer that makes me nostalgic for the Bolo Rei I used to eat as a kid during the holidays. A sweet, bready cake chock full of candied fruit, walnuts, citrus rind, currants, and aguardente, Bolo Rei has a flavour and consistency analogous to brioche, and is Portugal’s take on Christmas cake. A warm slice right out of the oven (when the boozy undertones were pretty pronounced), was a real staple of my childhood during the holidays, and over the last few weeks a glass of Anno 2017 by the lights of the Christmas tree has similarly become a common nightly pastime.
For this year’s iteration, Dageraad’s owner and head brewer Ben Coli updated his trusted recipe by adding Brettanomyces claussenii, a yeast strain that imparts a mild, earthy brett character, and some nice, subtle tropical fruity aromas, and the secondary fermentation that Anno 2017 undergoes in the bottle will undoubtedly ensure that it gains a lot of complexity and depth as it ages.
A handful of bottles of Anno 2017 remain at Dageraad’s Burnaby tasting room and at select bottle shops around the Lower Mainland, so be sure to grab whatever you can get your hands on before its gone. It’s a perfect holiday beer, and pairs effortlessly with triple cream brie and a warm slice of Bolo Rei – available at Strathcona’s Union Market or, if you play your cards right, my mom’s kitchen.
Hat tip to Dageraad’s Renaissance man Mitch Warner for the awesome photo.