Carolina Brewery Santa’s Secret / North Carolina
“Our winter holiday brew boasts a combination of six different malts working together to produce a rich beer with a soft creamy mouthfeel. Without revealing all of Santa’s secrets, we can say that this tasty ale contains a careful blend of coriander, cinnamon, orange and allspice. We think you’ll agree – it’s the closest thing to Christmas in a glass.”
Nickel Beer Co. owned by Tom and Lindsey Nickel who also own O’Brien’s Pub is taking over a former police station in Julian and shooting to open (hopefully before this posts) its tasting room for visitors to start sampling with a pale ale, IPA and stout.
The Nickels are long time craft beer boosters so this new stop will probably get loads of grateful traffic.
Brassierie Fantome de Noel / Belgium
“A very dark and entirely unique holiday seasonal beer, at a whopping 10% alc. by volume. Reportedly spiced with honey, caramel, coriander, black pepper, and other secret ingredients. The alcohol content probably goes a long way toward explaining that very warm and satisfied feeling one finds on the very first sip. A rich, dark-flavored beer with lots of deep-roasted chocolate malt, but still fairly dry, with a hint of sourness at the core. It is very spicy, with some winter spruce flavor in the bargain. The wild yeast sourness also adds to its welcoming character.”
Instead of sitting down with a bunch of folks around a turkey and a jiggly plate of canned cranberry, I set sail with beer pilot Rich north to Santa Rosa and beery points around it.
I will be writing about it with a critical eye over on Food GPS later this month (so my thoughts can gather like swallows heading to Capistrano). But first, some of the beers that I encountered on menus…..
BarrelWorks in Buellton
Stumptown in Guernville
Bear Republic in Healdsburg
Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco
Russian River in Santa Rosa
Red Hook Winter Hook/ Washington
“Winterhook is the perfect beer to keep warm during cold months after shoveling snow, shredding some powder, or playing hooky to can catch the game. Since it was first brewed, Redhook’s Winterhook has changed slightly each year to celebrate the season and keep everyone on their toes. After all, no one likes getting the same gift twice. The 29th version of Winterhook brewed for this year offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry hopped brew, making this year’s winter ale slightly naughty and very nice.”
Personally, I have never seen the He’Brew Menorah pack on sale. But if you do find it or even if you don’t but have their Reborn beer then you can enter….
…the “Shmaltz Brewing Company launches the 4th Annual Beer Menorah Facebook Photo Contest! Beer Menorah Kits are included in every HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack®, which are now available nationally. Beer lovers, build your masterpiece for a chance to win fabulous Chosen Prizes. Shmaltz’s Facebook friends will vote to determine the winner, and photos should be submitted by Friday, January 10, 2014. Send images HERE or HERE. For some inspiration, please see the awesome beer menorah constructed by Shmaltz Tribe member Ronald Roseman below.
Drakes Abominably Jolly / California
“Abominably Jolly will be the snowman to Jolly Rodger’s Dread Pirate- an Imperial White IPA. This Jolly juxtaposition will utilize an intense amount of wheat in the grist for a cloudy appearance, slight graininess, and light citric character that will pair well with the intense dosing of tropical New Zealand and American hops in the kettle and dry hop.”
I like the idea of the organic hop and I like that Almanac has gone to the old school C hops like Cascade, Cluster and Chinook. The wet hop Chinook pours orange brown in color. Spice is the primary note in both the aroma and flavor. There are some minor grapefruit notes as well the fruit and the pith. Nice mixture of viscous and sparkle. Usually you only get one or the other. Now I really want to sample the other two of the group.
I am a fan of the re-booted Dr. Who and I was one of the nerds who eagerly downloaded the 50th Anniversary special, the Day of the Doctor. But I also watched the movie “An Adventure in Space and Time” written by Mark Gatiss who is Mycroft on the BBC Sherlock. Really fun to see a spin of how Dr. Who came into being and I highly recommend it. You can get it on Amazon or iTunes.
Indeed Brewing Stir Crazy Winter Ale/ Minnesota
” A new season means new adventures. We created Stir Crazy Winter Ale to warm you from within during the coldest time of year. Our sturdy winter warmer is brewed with cocao nibs, vanilla, raisins and brown sugar. Layers of malty goodness create a dark ruby color and satisfying notes of chocolate and rich caramel, while pulverized raisins and brown sugar provide a fruity complexity. Bundle up and enjoy!”
Food GPS has been running my choices of Top 10 California beer styles. I have covered IPA’s and stouts and now it is time to do a round-up of Holiday beers!
A quick glance at my blog shows my love for the style(s) that encompass the gamut of beer creativity. And one of the best, in my opinion is the Anchor Christmas label and their website has added a cool feature that showcases all the labels in the series…
Check out the range right HERE