Sunday, December 27, 2009

Beer Club, Volume Four - Winter Beers

Welcome to yet another episode of Beer Club where the style picks itself. With all the winter beers and Christmas beers coming out I figured it was obvious choice if we were ever going to do them.

November/December was an insanely busy time for me so I put pretty much the entire lineup in Alvey's hands and this is what he laid out for me:

Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Well, OK, not this one. I bought a Sam Adams variety pack for the Toyfest party and had some of these left over and since it's very available (even on tap in the Twin Cities) I thought it was a good starting point. This one was OK, but pretty much just OK. As I stated in my review, it was better than a fizzy yellow beer but for the most part it was a pretty small beer for what I expected. I'd definitely drink it if I saw it on tap and the rest of the options were macrobrews.

Summit Winter Ale
It took awhile to get one of my favorite local breweries in the Beer Club lineup but I finally got it done. To me this kind of tasted like a winterized version of Summit EPA. It was hoppy just like Summit EPA but some twists and turns to make it different.

Bells Christmas Ale
One of my biggest surprises of the night. This was a fruity beer, both in aroma and flavor. I couldn't really put my finger on exact flavors but it reminded me of a fruity candy wrapped up in a beer (and somehow not in a bad way). I really liked this one.

Anchor Christmas Ale
To me, this was the quintessential winter/Christmas beer in the lineup. Lots going on in the way of flavors in a aromas, plenty of good spices to make you think of this time of the year. I also love the concept of changing up both the recipe of the beer every year and the labels. I guess it could suck if you found one you really liked but maybe they could go the route of Schell's Snowstorm if that happened.

Southern Tier Krampus
This one was a style that I don't really seem to gravitate towards but considering that it was a pretty decent beer. I appreciated the hoppy fruity nature of the beer and that made it something that I'd try again if I had the opportunity.

Ridgeway Insanely Bad Elf
This was hands down the star of the night for me. It was one of my first real experiences with a barley wine and apparently I could be a big fan of them. It was very boozy and slightly fruity but also had a sweetness to it that I really liked. I definitely look forward to trying more barleywines in the new year.

This month's Beer Club was a bit different for us in that we had several different styles of beer and it was tough to know what to look for. It was still a good choice because it gave us all ideas of what to drink over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

I know this is a couple days after Christmas but I hope you all had a great one (or a great whatever you celebrate) and have a fantastic New Year and a great year to come.

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