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.
Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York is part of the Duvel brewing dynasty. They should know how to do a good winter ale. And they do. Lovely, Dark and Deep is the name of their Oatmeal Stout winter ale.
Ommegang Lovely, Dark and Deep pour dark brown with a khaki head of firm foam that hangs around for a while. The aroma is roasted malts, coffee, powdered cocoa, and dark pitted fruit. The taste is roasted coffee, smokey tobacco, and burnt chocolate chip cookies. Very distinct charred flavor, like soot from a wood fire. It’s not unpleasant, just distinct.
Lot’s of body, good carbonation, and rich mouthfeel. Not your typical Oatmeal Stout. The alcohol is light for the style at 5.3% ABV. A unique winter ale that needs to be savored.
Wingman Brewers of Tacoma, Washington takes the prize with their cool bottle shape. Wingman is a very local brewery only distributing in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Noel is their Belgian style winter ale.
Noel pours garnet with large bubbles that dissipate to nothing, not even lace, after just a moment. The aroma is sweet caramel, cola, and candied figs. It’s made simply from Saaz hops, Pilsner malts and Belgian candi sugar. Perhaps too simply. It tastes sweet, with little carbonation, cherry, cola, and oh so thin.
I want to love it because of the style and the cool bottle, but it needs work to add more body and malt backbone to be a Belgian style winter ale.
Alameda Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon is no newcomer to the brewing scene. They’ve been brewing commercially since 1996. Their Christmas beer goes by the name Papa’s Old Ale (the label on my bottle) or Papa Noel’s Olde Ale.
Papa’s Old Ale is a hoppy version of an English Strong Ale. It pours dark copper with a substantial light brown head that retains it’s shape. The aroma is sweet caramel malts and few subtle hints of cocoa and earthy spice.
It tastes as one would imagine: Sweet malty start with caramel and molasses that give way to a bitter hop finish. The generous amount of hops will please craft beer fans. It’s dark, medium bodied, clean and at 7.2% ABV, it’s a fine winter warmer. Very enjoyable.
Fish Tale Ales is an organic brewing company in Olympia, Washington. Fish Tale brews a full selection of great beers, include the Hobbit series and the Christmas Vacation series. Today, I’ll review Winterfish, a seasonal ale.
Winterfish pours light amber with a thin white head of foam. It smells of malts,