Trappist brewery Chimay has barrel aged their Grande Reserve Ale (Blue) for the first time. Historically, the Grande Reserve was Chimay’s Christmas Beer.
I don’t have a bottle yet, but here’s a video from
Lompoc (pronounced Lom-Pock) Brewing is a gem hidden among the deluge of Portland breweries. Founded in 1996, Lompoc brews mainly for their 5 taverns with some bottling for local distribution. C-Sons Greetings is an Imperial India Pale Ale.
Besides being a clever name, C-Sons Greetings is brewed with all seven of the “C” hops – Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger. It pours ruby-amber with a finger-width white head of foam. It has floral hops on the nose with some caramel malts. Tasting it, it’s going to be a Northwest favorite – pine and resin hop flavors. There’s a malt backbone that both sweetens slightly and balances the full load of hops.
C-Sons Greetings doesn’t stray too far from an Imperial IPA style. What may make it more of a seasonal brew is it’s a bit richer with malts adding body and balance and a slightly lower 8% ABV.
Any fan of Imperial IPAs and Northwest Christmas beers will love Lompoc’s C-Sons Greetings.
Harvey & Sons Ltd is a 200-plus year-old brewery in Southeast Britain. It’s privately owned and run by 8th generation family members. Harvey’s Christmas Ale is a dark Barleywine.
Harvey’s Christmas Ale pours ruby red with a thin lacing of foam. The aroma is caramel, toffee, dates, and brown sugar. The taste isn’t as sweet as I expected, which
Kulshan Brewing Co. is in Washington State up near the border with Canada. Kulshan is a small brewing operating since 2012, and turning out excellent beer. Kitten Mittens is their Winter Ale.
Kitten Mittens pours dark mahogany with a thin head of tan foam. The aroma is milk chocolate, dates, and toasted malts. Let this one warm up a bit to bring out the flavors. On tasting it, there’s a nice blend of toasted malts, cocoa, powered chocolate, hazelnut, and the right balance of sweetness. As it goes down, the finish is medium-long with the bitter chocolate and toasted malts remaining.
It’s 7.4% ABV, which puts in the Winter Warm category for me. The mouthfeel is good with medium body and lively carbonation.
This Norwegian Holiday Ale comes with more than fine taste, it comes with a story. HaandBryggeriet is “Hand Brewers,” one of the new breweries to emerge in the explosion of craft brewing in Scandinavia. It’s four guys experimenting in a 200 year-old stone horse sable. And doing very well!
Nissefar, which means “Father Christmas,” pours nearly black with very little foam on top. The aromas is
Eggenberg Samichlaus (Santa Claus) Classic is my mainstay Christmas day beer. You can read the full story behind this record-setting 14% ABV lager here. It’s brewed in Austria only one day a year, on December 6th. Then aged for 10 months, during which time it is cold lagered and frozen to boost the flavor and alcohol.
I’m opening a 2009 today, making this bottle 6 years old since bottling, and
It’s no secret that Santa’s favorite Christmas beer is De Dolle Brouwers’ Stille Nacht. It’s a Belgian Strong Ale made with brewing equipment from a long-defunct brewery in the eastern Belgium town of Esen. Several friends bought the equipment in the 1980s called themselves the Mad Brewers (De Dolle Brouwers) and began to brew beers with life – yeast – still in them. The little guy on the bottle is often mistaken for a snowman, but is actually a yeast, representing the living nature of bottle-conditioned beer.
Stille Nacht Reserva was birthed after an accidental yeast overdose in 2000 exploded bottles as