Fremont Brewing Co. of Seattle makes my favorite bourbon barrel-aged beer. It’s now called B-Bomb, but previously named Bourbon Abominable. This 2014 Barrel Aged Abominable is the Coffee Cinnamon version.
It pours a rich, dark brown with a dark tan thin head of foam. The aroma is coffee, bourbon, spice, and coconut. The flavor is intense. Complexity with cinnamon, bourbon, vanilla, leather, dark roasted coffee, all formed together in a way that does a dance in your mouth. The finish is warm and long with good carbonation and smooth mouthfeel. There’s no booziness from the 11% ABV.
Coffee Cinnamon Bourbon Barrel Aged Abominable was aged in 12 & 15-year-old American Oak bourbon barrels and is a blend of 12, and 24-month old barrel strength Abominable Ale. For barrel-aged beer fans, this is one to search for. Here’s a link to the current version.
Snow Cap is Pyramid Breweries’ English-Style Winter Warmer. For the brewery’s 30th anniversary last year, they released a barrel-aged version. This year they’ve done it again with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Snow Cap in a 22oz bottle.
BBA Snow Cap pours dark mahogany with a stiff tan head of foam. The aroma originates with the 10 months of barrel-aging: bourbon, vanilla, and sweet malts. The East Kent Golding hops give it an English Barleywine flavor. Distinct wood and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate from the barrels. A creamy mouthfeel with good carbonation hides the 10 ABV booziness.
Based in Seattle, Pyramid Breweries began as Hart Brewing in 1984 with the flagship brand of Pyramid Ales. In 1996, the company was reborn as Pyramid Breweries and currently offers craft beers produced under the Pyramid family of ales and lagers.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,