What’s Brewing: Holiday Beer Review

Posted on Dec 18, 2014
What’s Brewing: Holiday Beer Review

Having an over-abundance of holiday craft beers to select from is a good problem to have. So as you are preparing for your holiday guests to arrive, Steven–our local beer connoisseur, thought he would lend a hand and provide you with some of our top picks.

The contenders:

Christmas Ale by Upslope Brewing Company (Boulder, CO)

“It comes in pints?!” This brew comes in a festive red 16 oz can. The style is a Belgian dubbel, and you can definitely taste the sweetness from the Belgian yeast. Seemingly simple at first, as the beer gets closer to room temperature some of the richer fruit flavors come out. I didn’t particular care for this beer and I wouldn’t buy it again at $9.99 a 4-pack.

AVG RATING 1 OUT OF 5

As Shane eloquently puts:

Shane-Review_GC

Jubelale by Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)

First off, the artwork on the label has a pretty cool back story. Each year Deschutes chooses a different local artist to design the label and this year is no exception. This beer pours a bright ruby red color. The first taste gives me mostly bready malt with complex layers of nuttiness and fruity hops. It’s well-balanced and just plain delicious. This is one of my personal favorites and I plan on drinking more of these bad boys. It pairs well with pumpkin pie, brisket, and roast turkey.

AVG RATING 4.5 OUT OF 5

Old Jubilation Ale by Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO)

At 8.3% ABV this baby will keep you warm without being too heavy on the booziness. Nutty with hints of chocolate, this brew tastes malt-heavy. This beer would pair well with the usual suspects of holiday meats: lamb, prime rib, and roast duck.

AVG RATING: 3 OUT OF 5

Christmas Ale by Brouwerij St. Bernardus (Belgium)

This is the only foreign brew of the bunch. It pours a beige color and smells of funky fruity Belgian yeast. The flavor is malty and sweet and a retains a carbonated mouthful all the way through. No hop bitterness is present and it finishes as delicious as it began. At 10% ABV, it doesn’t drink like it, so be careful and share this holiday beer with some friends. This was the group’s second favorite beer. Pick a couple of these up, as they can be aged for up to 15 years!

AVG RATING 4 OUT OF 5

Accumulation by New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO)

New Belgium says that, “Brewing a white IPA was not only a way to salute the white beauty falling from the sky, but a direct revolt to the longstanding tradition of brewing dark beers for winter.” Change is good, and so is this beer. There is no punch-you-in-the-face hop aroma, but it does retain a citrusy, piney nose. It tastes highly-carbonated but the taste is balanced in that there are notes of grapefruit and pine. I love this beer and wish it was available all-year.

AVG RATING 4 OUT OF 5

Winter Ale by Alaskan Brewing Co. (Juneau, AK)

This beer pours a copper color with a low head. This beer didn’t have too dominant a smell, but had hints of pine. This beer straight up tastes like a christmas tree. Even the label says, ale made with spruce tips. This beer is really enjoyable and drinkable. This is normally my go-to winter beer as it always sparks the christmas spirit in me.

AVG RATING 4 OUT OF 5

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year (Our Special Ale) by Anchor Brewing Company (2014) (San Fransisco, CA)

This is the 40th annual Christmas Ale from Anchor. The recipe is different every year, as is the tree on the label. It has been hand painted by James Stitt since the beer’s inception in 1975. It pours a dark black color with a a two-finger-sized white head that retains well through to completion. On the nose is root beer and licorice. On the tongue are notes of unsweetened chocolate and mint. There is a small bitterness to the beer that makes it stand out. This beer can be bought in the 1.5L size and with a label that says, “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year” it makes a perfect gift for the holidays.

AVG RATING 3 OUT OF 5

02-Anchor-Christmas-Ale-2013-Label-Poster-400w

Shiner Cheer

My fellow Texans, Shiner needs no introduction.’Tis the season for Cheer! Shiner Cheer is a dunkelweizen (dark wheat) that is flavored with pecans and peaches. It pours a light brown with slight red tint. My first impression, is a total peach bomb, making this beer taste very sweet. It’s not too overpowering though. This beer is perfect for holiday get-togethers as it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

AVG RATING 3.5 OUT 5

Winter Solstice by Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, CA)

This beer pours a deep amber color and gives off a gingerbread smell. The taste is malty but has a mild hop finish that doesn’t overpower. Its smooth and I am definitely picking up hints of toffee and caramel. This beer would be great on a chilly evening. However, our group didn’t really prefer this brew (myself included). Maybe look elsewhere when searching for that great holiday beer.

AVG RATING 2 OUT OF 5

Do you have a fav holiday beer that wasn’t on the list? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Comments

comments