Here’s a rarity in Northwest US Winter Ales, a proper spiced Ale. It comes from Silver City Brewery in Bremerton, Washington. Nutcracker Spiced Ale has been a small-batch, draft-only brew every Christmas since 2005. This year, we’re they’ve bottled some celebrating the brewery’s 20th Anniversary.
Nutcracker pours burn caramel, amber color with a thin head of tan foam that skirts to the edges of the glass. On the nose, there’s sweet Belgian yeast and malts, no spice. Tasting, I get rich caramel and chocolate malts, sharp Belgian yeast that adds spice, and fruits like prune, dark cherry, and stewed orange peel. It’s sweet, but far from too sweet. And the 10% ABV is well hidden behind all the flavor. The best part is the long finish that lingers.
Silver City makes another favorite Christmas beer, their Old Scrooge and Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Scrooge.
Winter and sweaters just go together. Portland, Oregon brewery Ex Novo created a Winter Warmer called Liquid Sweater. It warms you up!
This is a proper Winter Warmer, caramel colored with a thin head of foam, it’s a medium-body with lots of malts. On tasting it is bready malts, lite caramel, and a bit of dark fruits. It’s not too sweet. The generous dose of Willamette hops balance the beer nicely. It clocks in at 50 IBU and 7.0% ABV. Liquid Sweater is a fine example of an English Strong Ale, albeit on the malty side of things. You won’t need a wool sweater to stay warm drinking this beer.
Ex Novo Brewing Company began in July 2014 as a nonprofit brewery donating 100% of net profits to organizations building a better world and bringing hope to places where it is scarce.
Love them or hate them, Pumpkin beers are here to stay. Beer Advocate lists 1,305 different Pumpkin beers! Tonight, the Elves and I took a break from Christmas preparations to taste four Pumpkin beers. One was a clear winner.
Buffalo Bill’s is a pioneer in the microbrewery scene. Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, which the brewery touts
PORTLAND, Oregon. – The Holiday Ale Festival will officially come of age this year as it celebrates the 21st annual event, Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW Sixth Ave. Known for assembling a prestigious lineup of winter beers, the festival will feature more than 50 specialty ales that have either been crafted specifically for the event or are hard-to-fine vintages, underscoring the event’s reputation as one of finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation.
Despite being held outdoors during one of the coldest months of the year, nearly 14,000
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.
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.
Ecliptic Brewing of Portland, Oregon made this hoppy IPA.
Filament pours orange-red with a light head of foam. The aroma is grassy hops, with sweet honey and caramel from the malts. It’s definitely not just a double IPA. It has a firm malt base of Pale, Munich, and Caramel malts that provide some smooth sweetness. But it is an IPA with citrus and resin from the plentiful Crystal, Chinook and Centennial hops.
It’s a Winter IPA, more body, loads of a hops. It’s 70 IBU and 7.2% ABV strong. Another fine example of a Northwest Winter IPA.