Christmas - Seasonal Brews
With so many winter brews out there I really want to try as many as I can before Christmas so here we go:
Boulevard Brewing Co. Snow & Tell. This oak aged Scotch Ale, aka Wee Heavy (most breweries don't have the balls to put Wee Heavy on the bottle) is dark and rich but not over the top. You get plenty of malt on the palate and the nose has classic baking spice aromas that you normally get with oak. Supirisingly the alcohol is only 6.3. Pretty low if you're comparing from Boulevard's other seasonal oak aged stuff. I'm happy because I could put down a few of these. Best of all they have them in 12oz bottles and not just in a bunch of kegs and 750ml. Being from the Midwest, Boulevard has always been a favorite of mine. I'm looking forward to trying their Nut Cracker during one of these 12 days.
Wichita Brewing Co. What Winter? Ale. Coming in 16oz cans and at 7% ABV this amber ale is made for winter. I wouldn't really call this a holiday beer because the spice aromas aren't really there but it's definitely an ale for the colder weather. Medium malty and a decent amount of acid makes this an ale made for food. Even though there are no polar bears in Wichita, I dig the packaging.
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. I enjoy their Abt 12 so this is right up my alley. Boozy (10%), spicy, and malty. The alcohol is integrated pretty well though. This Belgian Quadruple ale should age nicely so it's not a bad idea to stock up. Apparently the yeast strain used has been in the Bernardus house since 1946. That's pretty cool.
Delirium Noël: Another Belgium beer added to the mix. Would be difficult to pin this down as a Christmas beer but I do like it. It's definitely in the Belgium strong ale category. The Bernardus is a little thicker and richer. Overall it's very balanced and nothing is coming at you too much.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop IPA. Another beer I wouldn't exactly call a Christmas beer. The baking "seasonal" spices aren't there. It is their winter seasonal which is celebrating the first fresh hops of the growing season. The hoppy freshness is reminding me a bit of Deschutes Fresh Squeeze. The alcohol is 6.8% with 65 IBU's. I'm not a huge IPA fan but this is the style I Iike. Neither the hops or booze is over the top.
Free State Winterfest IPA. With the rise of IPA's it would only make sense for some of these breweries to brew "Winter" IPA's as their holiday seasonal beers. This IPA is tasty and not as assertive as Sierra Nevada's. The hops are fairly tame. It is not overly complex but sometimes you just want a beer to kick back with and not think about too much.
Breckenridge Christmas Ale. Now this is what I'm talking about. All that spicy malty goodnes. 7.1% booze so it's in a perfect spot to have a couple beers and not be on your ass. This brewery is hit and miss for me but I'm really enjoying this beer. One of the better ones.