Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, Massachusetts brews up a different Christmas treat each year under the label: Holidale Ale. I’m reviewing the 2016 version delivered by the elves a year after its release.
The 2016 Holidale Ale pours copper with a fine cream head on top. It’s loaded with sediment drifting through the glass. It smells slightly tart, like cooked cherries with a bit of yeast. The initial taste is brings a grapey flavor and a wee bit of pucker from the gooseberries added in the secondary fermentation. There a sweetness from the alcohol, some dried fruit characteristics, and wild yeast. Not much in terms of hops flavor notes, but the hops were definitely present.
It’s listed on Untapped as a Double IPA, but it’s more like a barleywine with berry and spice notes to it. I can’t find a ABV for this beer, but it’s 8%+, but doesn’t drink very boozy. Look for this year’s Holidale Ale and see what Santa has for you.
Saint Arnold Brewing from Texas makes a malty Christmas Ale, so when I saw their hoppy, spiced version Sailing Santa I had to try it.
Sailing Santa pours orange-auburn with a white head of foam. Spices hit your nose on sniffing this brew. I smell ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and dried orange peels. The taste is all those spices, on a zingy hop base. Hops and a lot of ginger give a
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.