Nothing like publishing a buildup to pre-Christmas beers three days after Christmas. But, you know, life. Kids. Family travel.
Advent Beers, Week 3
Abita Christmas Ale
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Abita Christmas Ale. Mostly because I don’t expect much from Abita. So with lowered expectations, it exceeded them. Smelling of caramel, Abita’s Christmas delivers a malty, sweetish, mildly nutty beer with subdued spices. Some nutmeg up front and a light, spicy bitterness at the end. A totally drinkable seasonal ale.
|Abita Brewing||Spiced ale||5.5% (vol.)||34|
Torn Label Bloody Christmas
I wasn’t sure what to think of Bloody Christmas. Chocolate and oranges are a natural match, but the bottle label promises an “Belgian-style stout”, which typically denotes dark fruit flavors from ester-producing yeast.
Bloody Christmas certainly smells of chocolate and oranges, delightful. Flavors of plums and cherries, while not assertive, mix with the citrus and chocolate for an uneasy blend. The beer is fairly dry and not bitter, outside of a burnt/roasted aspect typical with stouts. The oranges and plums just don’t jive for me when paired with the roasted aspects of the stout. Any two of the three main flavor components would make a happy beer. But all three seem muddy and disjointed.
|Torn Label Brewing||Belgian-style stout with blood oranges||8.1% (vol.)|
New Belgium Accumulation
Is my memory shot or was New Belgium Accumulation not an IPA four years ago? I know the folks in Fort Collins have been changing names and brands, but I swear it was more of a winter warmer-type. Then again, we’ve already established that I don’t remember beers of Christmas past very accurately.
We will judge Accumulation as it is, which according to the label, is a white IPA. The straw-colored, hazy beer emits a plume of bright citrusy orange aroma. Upon drinking, it’s more of the same, oranges, grapefruit and a sunny disposition standing in stark contradiction to the snowed-in cottage on the bottle. The pithy bitterness is mild for an IPA, but works well. Good beer, yes.
|New Belgium Brewing||White IPA||% (vol.)|
Empyrean Brewing Winter Wisdom
Winter Wisdom teaches us that nutty brown ales in winter are good. The brown ale smells of sweet chocolate and walnuts. It opens to a brown sugar and chocolate center with hints of hazelnuts, less in a Nutella way, and more as a complimentary nuttiness to the sweet, malty chocolate flavors. It’s a very tasty beer.
|Empyrean Brewing||Brown ale with hazelnuts||% (vol.)|
Santa Fe Brewing Adobe Igloo
My day job is a graphic designer/web developer/business owner. My software world is Adobe’s world the way some engineers live in CAD or writers inhabit Word. Adobe Igloo totally sounds like a ice-castle designing software. Or maybe a rendering engine for ice cubes. Tangent over.
Adobe Igloo, the beer not the theoretical software, is a winter warmer with chocolate and New Mexico chiles. Mole in a can of beer. Mildly aromatic, mostly reminiscent of cocoa powder, the deep brown ale has a nutty, chocolate body with a hint of mild chile heat and no discernible bitterness. It’s a sweeter beer, and certainly not “hot” from the peppers, just enough to notice their presence.
|Santa Fe Brewing||Winter ale with chocolate and chiles||6% (vol.)||18|
Bell’s Winter White Ale
Bell’s supplies another zagging non-traditional winter beer heading in a totally different direction from the zigging stouts, warmers, and alcohol bombs. The label claims no spices were harmed in the production of this “Belgian-inspired wheat ale”. Nevertheless it certainly delivers the expected burst for fresh, bright citrus, cloves, and coriander associated with witbiers. The body and malt profile are soft, letting the yeast and hops (which I’m assuming are supplying some of the citrusy flavors) take the lead.
Like Accumulation above and Frost Flower last week, Winter White is a break from the darkness with a bright light in the winter months. I don’t know if it works for me, but it might work for you. I may hold off until spring.
|Bell's Brewing||Belgian-style witbier||5.0% (vol.)|
If anyone’s still paying attention, I’ll post the last week of beers after the new year. Life, people.