SKANEATELES | In honor of the holiday season, the Sherwood Inn has taken its guests' taste buds on a seasonal adventure.

The inn partnered with Tim Butler, the Empire Brewing Co.'s director of brewing operations, to come up with a taste that's indicative of the holiday season, Butler said.

Dickens Christmas Ale is brewed at Empire Brewing Co.'s Armory Square Brew-Pub in Syracuse using Skaneateles Lake water. The strong Scottish ale has 7.5 percent alcohol content, but goes down smooth. It's a hearty brew with the aroma of a lingering gingerbread cookie.

"It's like Christmas in a glass," Butler said. "And it's like Christmas in your mouth. It's definitely a winter, warmer style."

The idea is partly based on the popular Dickens characters that roam the streets in Skaneateles every holiday season. Sherwood Assistant General Manager Chuck Mason brought the idea to Butler in the late fall, and by early November they were nearly ready to showcase the new pub brew.

Dickens Christmas Ale made its debut to patrons on Nov. 18 and it's already become a favorite among locals and visitors, Mason said.

The new holiday ale isn't just for tavern patrons, though. It can be savored with some of the inn's popular menu items in its dining room. It pairs well with most desserts, particularly the Egg Nog Cheesecake or gingerbread pudding. And it also tastes good when served with a stew or roast, Mason said.

The Sherwood already went through 100 pints of beer on Black Friday alone, Mason added, and they're gearing up for the next few weeks of what they said will be a busy holiday.

"Already it has been really well-received," Mason said. "And this is really something that's perfect for the holiday season. We're excited to bring something new to our tavern and to the guests who come in for the holidays."

Staff writer Sistina Giordano can be reached at 282-2237 or sistina.giordano@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenGiordano.

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