Black Raven Festivus Holiday Ale Review

Here’s a unique Christmas ale, well, actually a Festivus Holiday Ale. Black Raven Brewing of Redmond, Washington created a spiced double IPA that the Costanzas would be proud of. It’s called Festivus Holiday Ale. Let the feats of strength begin!

Festivus pours copper with a thin tan head. The nose is lemon zest, piney hops, and a blend of fresh spices – sage, holly, and Douglas Fir. The flavor is that if a hop-forward beer that is spiced, as opposed to the usual spiced beers which are sweet malt-forward. I taste citrus hops, pine, tangy lemon, perhaps the cranberries, ginger, and behind all this light spices. The flavors blend to form a unique treat of hops and spice and fruit. At 7.1% ABV it’s not quite a feat of strength, but it’s up there with double IPAs. For all the hop flavor, it’s a surprising low 48 IBU.

Black Raven is an award-winning brewery just a few miles away from the Microsoft headquarters. Certainly a brewery to watch.

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Holiday Ale Festival Report #2: Barrel Aged Wonders

The Holiday Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon is in full swing with a lot of rare and barrel aged beers for the tasting. In this second report, I update a couple of barrel aged version of beers I’ve already reviewed, and explore three more. Cheers to my new friends who spurred me on as a wrote reviews! Here’s 5 more special beers.

No-Li Brewhouse Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer is an American Strong Ale with lots of oak. No-Li took their hoppy Winter Warmer (see my review here) and filled first-use Dry Fly Distillery wheat whiskey barrel hours after

No-Li Winter Warmer Ale Review

No-Li Brewhouse’s Winter Warmer is a dry-hopped, complex American Strong Ale that will delight your mother and your hop-head brother-in-law.

No-Li Winter Warmer pours copper red with a thin cream-colored head. It smells sweet with caramel malts and a touch of pine. It starts sweet from the crystal malts, then the balance shifts to the aromatic hops. The finish shines with the dry-hopped Northern Brewer,

Bellevue Brewing Winter Ale Review

In one of my favorite cities, Bellevue, Washington, there’s a new brewery by the same name producing amazing beers. Bellevue Brewing Co.‘s newest is Winter Ale an Imperial Red Ale.

Winter Ale pours burnt red with a tan head of fine foam that stays for a while. It presents with a bouquet of fruits, orange, kiwi, forest berries, and floral hops. The taste is as lively as the nose. Floral hops, a lot of them, mix with the sweetness of caramel toasted malts. It’s 66 IBU and 8.3% ABV, which accounts for the brewery’s description: West Coast Double Red Ale. It may not be possible, but Winter Ale tastes both hop-forward and malt-forward at the same time.

Bellevue Brewing began production in 2012 much to the delight of local craft beer lovers who tired of crossing Lake Washington to visit all the world-class microbreweries in Ballard and Seattle. Don’t miss Winter Ale.

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Bale Breaker High Camp Winter Warmer Review

Here’s a Christmas report from the road. I popped into Marination Ma Kai, the former food truck turned restaurant on Seattle’s scenic Alki Point. I bumped into a real treat, Bale Breaker’s High Camp Winter Warmer. It’s only available on draft. I’m happy to have found it!

High Camp pours dark copper with a solid white foamy head. This is a hop-dominated beer that is dry-hopped with

Hobbit Beer: Smaug Stout Review

This winter, curl up and stay warm with a dragon – a dragon stout. Fish Tale Brewery produced a three-bottle set of Hobbit beer to tie in with movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. These are not cheap commercial lagers, but 9.5% ABV craft brews. The third in the series is an Imperial Stout called Smaug Stout in 22 oz bottles.

I sent the elves out to Seattle to get one of the first bottles of Smaug, and here’s my review…

Hobbit Beer: Bolg Belgian Style Tripel Review

Beer lovers have more to love about upcoming movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a three-bottle set of Hobbit beer. Fish Tale Brewery of Olympia, Washington, USA released an Belgian Style Tripel called Bolg in 22 oz bottles.

I sent the elves out to Seattle to get one of the first bottles of Bolg, and here’s my review…