Berkshire Brewing 2016 Holidale Ale Review

Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, Massachusetts brews up a different Christmas treat each year under the label: Holidale Ale. I’m reviewing the 2016 version delivered by the elves a year after its release.

The 2016 Holidale Ale pours copper with a fine cream head on top. It’s loaded with sediment drifting through the glass. It smells slightly tart, like cooked cherries with a bit of yeast. The initial taste is brings a grapey flavor and a wee bit of pucker from the gooseberries added in the secondary fermentation. There a sweetness from the alcohol, some dried fruit characteristics, and wild yeast. Not much in terms of hops flavor notes, but the hops were definitely present.

It’s listed on Untapped as a Double IPA, but it’s more like a barleywine with berry and spice notes to it. I can’t find a ABV for this beer, but it’s 8%+, but doesn’t drink very boozy. Look for this year’s Holidale Ale and see what Santa has for you.

2017 Costco Advent Beer Calendar

There is massive interest in beer Advent calendars – celebrate the season with beer a day for December 1st through 24th. Costco carries the most widely available beer Advent calendars, but it’s not available at every store.

Costco’s 2017 Brewer’s Advent Calendar is a boxed set of 24 German different beers in

The Best Corkscrew: Pulltex Pulltap’s Corkscrew

My usual beer cap opener is a Pulltex Pulltap’s Corkscrew. Only occasionally do I use the corkscrew on a bottle of beer, like when I open a cork and cap sealed De Dolle Stille Nacht 2010 Reserva.

The corkscrew is a simple tool constantly redesigned and marketed. Each new type is supposedly an improvement on the last, but they are not. The clear winner is also one of the least expensive

2016 Saint Arnold Sailing Santa Review

Saint Arnold Brewing from Texas makes a malty Christmas Ale, so when I saw their hoppy, spiced version Sailing Santa I had to try it.

Sailing Santa pours orange-auburn with a white head of foam. Spices hit your nose on sniffing this brew. I smell ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and dried orange peels. The taste is all those spices, on a zingy hop base. Hops and a lot of ginger give a

Silver City Nutcracker Spiced Ale Review

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.

Ex Novo Brewing Liquid Sweater Review

Winter and sweaters just go together. Portland, Oregon brewery Ex Novo created a Winter Warmer called Liquid Sweater. It warms you up!

This is a proper Winter Warmer, caramel colored with a thin head of foam, it’s a medium-body with lots of malts. On tasting it is bready malts, lite caramel, and a bit of dark fruits. It’s not too sweet. The generous dose of Willamette hops balance the beer nicely. It clocks in at 50 IBU and 7.0% ABV. Liquid Sweater is a fine example of an English Strong Ale, albeit on the malty side of things. You won’t need a wool sweater to stay warm drinking this beer.

Ex Novo Brewing Company began in July 2014 as a nonprofit brewery donating 100% of net profits to organizations building a better world and bringing hope to places where it is scarce.