I have a few much more exciting beers that need reviewing (Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, I am looking at you here), but I figured I should get this review out before Christmas is totally and completely over and this beer is out of date until next year.
Name: Christmas Ale
Origin: Breckenridge Brewery, Breckenridge, CO
Style: Winter Warmer
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Olathe
This is another one of those beers that I can pretty much describe, like I do with Oktoberfests, as “smelling like beer.” It’s an amber-colored ale with a sort of lager-style taste/feeling to it (which weirds me out, frankly, because I tend to feel that Winter Warmers should be heavier/thicker than that – lager styles in general (very much excepting doppelbocks) tend to be quite light-bodied). It pours with a bit of white head that dissipates quickly.
Flavor-wise, this has a distinct root beer note that startled me (probably something with the malts), a molasses sort of note, and lots of caramel-biscuit-y malts with a hop bite at the end but no real bitter flavor. There are also a few hints of coffee, smoke and chocolate running through it. There’s a spicy flavor in the aftertaste, but otherwise this is absolutely a Winter Warmer (smell and lager feeling aside) – it’s very malty and has a noticeable hit of alcohol to it.
Overall, this is a good beer – it’s clearly well-brewed and thought-out – but I’m (obviously, I think) not in raptures over it. I think that lager drinkers would like it more than most ale drinkers – there’s something in the smell and the body that reminds me of a lager-style more than an ale-style beer, like the sort of thing that would make me recommend this to people in love with the Sam Adams Winter Lager more than people in love with the Sam Smith Winter Welcome.* So basically, it’s totally worth having, especially if you’re not overly fond of the same beers I am. Enjoy!
*I still haven’t had a Winter Welcome this year, which I find strange and which I chalk up to trying too many other beers to have much time to revert to my favorites. If nothing else, this will give me something new to review next year. I won’t be repeating anything unless I know it’s a beer whose recipe changes every year.