Maritime Pacific Jolly Roger Christmas Ale is a hoppy winter warmer brewed in a English Strong Ale style. I was fortunate enough to find a 2010 22oz bottle from the brewery’s vintage stock. I compared it to the newly released 2013 12 oz bottle.
Both pour reddish brown with a light amber head that quickly fades. Malts and fresh Northwest Chinook and Cascade hops show up one after the other on tasting. It finishes with hop bitterness fading into a slightly sweet maltiness. It’s not particularly spiced up, but there are some dark fruit notes. Both are smooth and flavorful, especially the vintage 2010. The high ABV – 2010 is 8% and 2013 is 9% – is nicely incorporated. The alcohol shows up as a bit of spice on your tongue.
The 2013 is more hop forward than the vintage 2010. Perhaps the 2010 has knit together a bit with 3 years of aging. The 2010 shows off more malt and dried fruit flavor.
Maritime Pacific Brewing Company is located in Ballard, the beer capital of Seattle. If you visit their tasting room, called the Jolly Roger Taproom, after this Christmas Ale, you may be fortunate enough to try some of the specialty versions they release. Such as: Rum Oak Aged Jolly, Cherry/Brandy Aged Jolly, and Vanilla Bean Jolly.
While I don’t endorse piracy, it cheers me that pirates celebrate Christmas. Yo-Ho-Ho!
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