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.

The First Hanukkah Beer

Shmaltz Brewing of Clifton Park, New York make a full line up of He’brew (“The Chosen Beer”) Jewish themed beers. Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer sports a 9 candle menorah on the label. It is the first Hanukkah beer and it’s quite good. I thought it deserves a mention.

Hanukkah, Chanukah pours dark copper with a light tan thin head of foam. The aroma is caramel malts, nuts, and a hint of cocoa. The taste is toasted malts (8 of them), burnt caramel, nuttiness, a nice balancing bitterness from the hops (8 of them), semi-sweet cocoa on the finish. It’s 8% ABV – can you see the theme here? It’s medium bodied and drinks like a Winter Warmer. And, of course, it’s kosher.

With hundreds of Christmas beers available, I’m surprised this the first Hanukkah beer. Eight nights of this beer would be a joy. Happy Hanukkah!

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Southern Tier 2XMAS Review

This Christmas ale is brewing in the tradition of Swedish Glogg, the spiced Christmas wine that simmers on the stove top all day and enjoyed in the evening. Southern Tier Brewing Co. of Lakewood, New York brewed one of their doubles in the 2X series for the holidays and call it 2XMAS.

2XMAS pours ruby brown with a thin head of foam that changes to Swedish lace. The aroma is sweet caramel malts with spice. The spices are blended and up front in this ale. Southern Tier uses figs, orange peel, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and ginger root in 2XMAS. It medium bodied with enough malts and hops to balance the spices. As the song goes, this beer is “all about that spice,” and enjoyable for it. It’s 8% ABV for a true winter warmer.

Just as Southern Tier’s Pumking stands out among pumpkin beers, 2XMAS marks a place among spiced Christmas ales.

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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