Ecliptic Filament Winter IPA Review

Ecliptic Brewing of Portland, Oregon made this hoppy IPA.

Filament pours orange-red with a light head of foam. The aroma is grassy hops, with sweet honey and caramel from the malts. It’s definitely not just a double IPA. It has a firm malt base of Pale, Munich, and Caramel malts that provide some smooth sweetness. But it is an IPA with citrus and resin from the plentiful Crystal, Chinook and Centennial hops.

It’s a Winter IPA, more body, loads of a hops. It’s 70 IBU and 7.2% ABV strong. Another fine example of a Northwest Winter IPA.

Vintage Ale 2009-2015 Vertical Tasting

California Grocer Trader Joe’s partnered with French Canadian brewery Unibroue to produce an affordable, Belgian style dark ale. It’s the type of beer made for aging. It has a firm malt foundation, plenty of sugar, 9% ABV, and bottle-conditioned. Today I’ll report on our vertical tasting of seven vintages, 2009 through 2015.

We brought all bottles to about 48f, the recommended temperature, and began

Miyazaki Hideji Kuri Kuro Dark Chestnut Ale Review

Miyazaki Hideji is one of the handful of Japanese breweries that began in 1996 with the change in brewing laws in Japan. Located on the beautiful Southern island of Kyushu, Miyazaki evokes nature, sea and tradition. Kuri Kuro means “black chestnut,” which is an appropriate name for this Dark Chestnut Ale.

Chestnuts are native to Japan. They are mostly used in desserts. In the winter, vendors roast them outside busy train stations and sell them to those walking by. You can smell roasting chestnuts from far off. Kurt Kuro’s aroma is bold as well: roasted malts, dark chocolate, nutty, chestnuts, with coffee and creamy vanilla.

Kuri Kuro pours dark brown with a thin head that dissipates quickly.

The flavor is that of a nutty Stout. I taste hazelnut and chestnut, with coffee and dark chocolate notes. It’s pleasantly sweet with a creamy rather than bitter finish. The carbonation is low, but the mouthfeel is good. It’s clean, not syrupy. At 9% ABV it’s a winter warmer for a cold night.

Ommegang Lovely, Dark and Deep Review

Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York is part of the Duvel brewing dynasty. They should know how to do a good winter ale. And they do. Lovely, Dark and Deep is the name of their Oatmeal Stout winter ale.

Ommegang Lovely, Dark and Deep pour dark brown with a khaki head of firm foam that hangs around for a while. The aroma is roasted malts, coffee, powdered cocoa, and dark pitted fruit. The taste is roasted coffee, smokey tobacco, and burnt chocolate chip cookies. Very distinct charred flavor, like soot from a wood fire. It’s not unpleasant, just distinct.

Lot’s of body, good carbonation, and rich mouthfeel. Not your typical Oatmeal Stout. The alcohol is light for the style at 5.3% ABV. A unique winter ale that needs to be savored.

Wingman Noel Review

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.

Alameda Papa’s Old Ale Review

Alameda Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon is no newcomer to the brewing scene. They’ve been brewing commercially since 1996. Their Christmas beer goes by the name Papa’s Old Ale (the label on my bottle) or Papa Noel’s Olde Ale.

Papa’s Old Ale is a hoppy version of an English Strong Ale. It pours dark copper with a substantial light brown head that retains it’s shape. The aroma is sweet caramel malts and few subtle hints of cocoa and earthy spice.

It tastes as one would imagine: Sweet malty start with caramel and molasses that give way to a bitter hop finish. The generous amount of hops will please craft beer fans. It’s dark, medium bodied, clean and at 7.2% ABV, it’s a fine winter warmer. Very enjoyable.

Fish Tale Ales Winterfish Review

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,