Friday, December 24, 2010

OMFG - Beer Review Series - 12 Beers Of Christmas!

12 Beers of Christmas

Going to the package store in the colder months is like walking in a old ale heaven. Brewers use the holiday season as a reason to trot out specialty ales and slap Christmas- and winter-themed labels on the bottles. Many of these beers fall into the “winter warmer’’ category — heavier on malt than hops, perhaps brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. But many fall into other categories that could be enjoyed any time of year. There are too many holiday beers to try in the short time they’re available. To get you started, here are 12 beers you must try.

Anchor Steam – Our Festive Ale:
It changes every year and 2010 is one of the best in my opinion.
ABV: 5.50%
Price: $11 per 6-pack
Profile: Complex combination of toasty malt flavor along with fruits and spices, all coming out in that order. Well balanced without the hops making too big an impression.

Samuel Adams - Old Fezziwig Ale
Available in the 12 pack and a quality beer for craft and non-craft drinkers alike.
ABV: 5.90%
Price: $14 per 12-pack
Profile: Roasted caramel malts and fruity esters, mostly raisin. Spiciness - cinnamon and ginger. A little booze to warm at the finish.

Bell's - Christmas Ale
A Scottish style ale very drinkable and complex at the same time: May be hard to find in the Atlanta area
ABV: 5.40%
Price: $11 per 6-pack
Profile: pears and apples, some citrus hop bite, caramel malt, then fades into a  bready malt with a bit of alcohol warmth.

Southern Tier - Old Man (Winter Ale)
A Old Ale: Per “complex amalgam of hops and barley that will put the feeling back in your toes and lift your spirits above the snow”
ABV: 7.2%
Price: $8 per 6-pack
Profile: almost a lager type characteristic. Very drinkable with pine, hops, cracker malt, spicy yeast and of course booze.

Mikkellar - Santa's Little Helper 2010
Another beer that changes year to year, this Belgian dark strong ale will not disappoint.
ABV: 9.10%
Price $11 per 750ml
Profile: Spiced with bitter and sweet orange peels and nutmeg. Easy to drink and boozy to boot.

Mikkellar - Fra Til (From To)
One of my personal favorite beers for Christmas a Baltic porter that delivers with booze.
ABV: 8.00%
Price $11 per 750ml
Profile: Big roasted espresso notes, followed by dark chocolate, herbal notes, gingerbread, and bittersweet dark fruits.

The Bruery – 3 French hens
Part of the 12 years of beers from The Bruery this is the 3rd installment and delivers on the promise of great beer. If you can still find it in Atlanta it will be a Christmas miracle.
ABV: 10%
Price $12 per 750ml
Profile: spiced fruit, cherries and plums, and raisins. Wine like taste, light spice profile, finished by French oak and vanilla. Great after dinner beer.

Weyerbacher Winter Ale
A winter warmer with malts and vanilla forward really one trick pony but very easy to drink.
ABV: 5.6%
Price: $12 per 6-pack
Profile: Classified as a winter warmer, this is really more of an English old ale. Aroma is smoky and full of molasses. Medium body.

Avery - Old Jubilation Ale
Easilly hidden alcohol for 8%. This beer goes down smooth and will please a crowd.
ABV: 8 %
Price: $12 per 6-pack
Profile: Pours dark brown using five different malts in the brewing process, hazelnuts and butterscotch on both the nose and taste followed closely by a nice mild citrus flavor.

Hoppin’ Frog - Frosted Frog Christmas
This is a dessert beer that delivers in smell and flavor. You like gingerbread and cream? This will be your best friend.
ABV: 8.6 %
Price: $9  per 22oz bomber
Profile:  Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg - liquid gingerbread. This beer is a dessert.

St. Bernardus - Christmas Ale
No Christmas celebration is complete without a St. Bernardus under the tree. It’s a perfect beer for a perfect celebration.
ABV: 10%
Price: $12  per 22oz bomber
Profile: figs, dried fruit, Belgian yeast and sticky spicy finish

Sierra Nevada – Celebration Ale
An American IPA for the holiday season. So crisp and drinkable anytime.
ABV: 6.8%
Price $9 per 6-Pack
Profile: Hoppy and bitter IPA with grapefruit and pine followed by orange citrus and caramelly malts.


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