Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tuesday Tasting: Ten More Seasonal Beers
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we dive back into the seasonal beer pool for a few more Christmas Ales and Winter Warmers.
The seasonal beers are out in force this time of year and I have been able to taste ten more during the last couple of weeks. I was lucky earlier today to show up at The Flying Saucer in Charlotte after some final Christmas gift shopping at the exact time they were tapping 2006 and 2007 kegs of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale to go along with a 2008 keg they had on draught.
Sierra Nevada 2006 Celebration Ale: This brew was a bit cloudy, but it had a very smooth flavor. The hop character has mellowed and the beer has a bit of a creamy flavor profile.
Sierra Nevada 2007 Celebration Ale: This vintage also poured cloudy, so it might have something to do with the kegs having just been moved around to be tapped. The 2007 had more hop bitterness, but overall this was a smooth beer. Perhaps a slight pine tinge to the end of the flavor.
Sierra Nevada 2008 Celebration Ale: Clear amber color, with a nice floral aroma. Nice crisp hop flavor that stays throughout.
Bad Elf Winter's Ale: From the Ridgeway Brewing Co. in the United Kingdom, this 6.0 percent alcohol by volume beer is a light golden color. Good hop crispness without being overpowering.
Harpoon Winter Warmer: A nice rich bodied beer with plenty of malt and a blend of nutmeg and cinnamon to pull off the holiday feel. Good to go with a holiday meal.
Mendocino Winter Seasonal Imperial IPA: A true hop monster, this 7.5 percent beer delivers a memorable IPA experience. This maybe just a one or two bottle experience because of the huge flavor profile.
Rogue Yellow Snow: This beer pours a nice orange copper color. Floral and herbal nose. Good hop character with touches of citrus. The bomber bottle is great to share with a friend.
Samuel Adams Winter Lager: I had this in the bottle and on draught during the last week. The bottle is pretty much a straight forward German-style bock. A nice beer, but not a big holiday offering. The tap version is maltier and has some nutmeg and cinnamon notes. If you get the option go with the draught.
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome: I don't recall this beer being so light in color in previous years. I also don't recall the brewery using a brown bottle in the past. Is this a recipe switch? The beer had a thin head, but it hung around. The beer had a light hop character with some malt notes coming through. On the lighter side of what I would expect for a winter beer.
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout: OK, I know this dark giant of a beer is available year round, but I'm convinced this should be a winter seasonal. I was lucky enough to enjoy it on draught, where the head was a chocolate brown and remained thick. Weighing in at 9.1 percent alcohol by volume, the brew has substantial amounts of roasted malt flavor and good hop character to balance the experience. This is a great winter warmer, even if you can buy it during the summer.