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,
Mac & Jack’s Brewing Company has bottled their first beer. Since 1994, Mac & Jack’s has been a favorite tap-only beer in the Pacific Northwest. Their African Amber is the quintessential unfiltered Amber, and sales prove it. Their first beer to be released in bottles, however, is Bourbon Barrel Aged Cascadian Dark Ale. Here’s my review of the 2015 vintage.
Black Raven Brewing Co. of Redmond, Washington is fast becoming one of my favorite breweries. They just get it right. In recent years, Black Raven has been aging beer on wood. Three Sundays Tripel is an Belgian style tripel aged on French and American oak.
Three Sundays Tripel pours bright golden with a light white head of foam that