Tis the season: tis the season to be jolly, to be amongst friends, and to be nose-deep in a glass of alcohol. Traditionally, tis the season for egg nog, a snifter of fine brandy, or a robust red wine. To the beer geeks, however, tis the season for something a little more sudsy; tis the season for holiday spice ales, winter warmers, and other such cold-weather beers. Indeed, tis the season for Christmas Ale (7.4% ABV) from Breckenridge Brewery.
Color: Christmas Ale is a clear beer, a deep russet color like dark whiskey or rum. Off-white foam sits atop.
Aroma: Rich caramel and the slightest trace of chocolate intermingle on the nose but the scent of dark fruit—like one would expect to find in a dubbel—seems most prominent. There does not appear to be any website claiming Christmas Ale is, in fact, a dubbel but one can’t deny what one smells.
Taste: Caramel once again makes an appearance, mixed in with a pack of heat (likely from the alcohol content) that starts off the taste to a complex, cherry-like quality that finishes it. One might say the aforementioned fruit flavor is like a watered-down cherry liquor (although, not that watered-down as the alcohol is still strong enough to give one a bit of a nip). The chocolate is much less noticeable in the flavor than it was in the aroma.
Mouthfeel: Like any decent winter beer, Christmas Ale is fairly viscous, a wee bit heavy, and warming.
Whatever winter holiday one celebrates, Christmas Ale is a cross-over hit; drink it when you’re lighting the tree, the menorah, or the mishumaa saba because, above all else, tis the season for peace, unity, and understanding. One finds that a shared beverage amongst acquaintances does much to bring people together, why not make it Christmas Ale?
Happy Holidays, beer geeks.