Mmmmmm not flavored beer. I can't say I've ever seen a holiday ale that was not spiced or flavored in some way. I'll have to look for a good one.
I wonder if there is some definitions difference I don't know about. Holiday ale, Christmas ale, Winter ale, as far as I know they are all the same thing. Around here the majority have no spice or flavorings, they just tend to be rich and malty and strong.
From what I've read on the bjcp website a christmas ale has spices in it.
here are a couple of typical Winter ale with no spices.
here is another I have had lots of with no spices
This is more what I'm familiar with as far as winter/Christmas ales. Although I haven't had much experience with the olde ales the rest of these seem to be based on. Looks like I have a big list of new beers to try. Considering I've pretty much tapped the whole Belgian spectrum (I still like the first trippel I ever brewed better than 90% of the $10+ bottles I buy at BevMo) and most standard drinking fare I might as well try these (I have had considerably more styles but the list would just be too long)
There is an Alaskan brewery that is really good, but I am not sure if that is the one I am thinking of. There are those spicey ales available around here as well but I can't drink them. I don't drink the fruit ales either. I have heard of an "award winning" ale from Walking Man Brewery that is made with Kombucha. I might have to try that someday.
I have all the stuff to brew stashed under the stairs in the basement, but there is so much good ale available now that I have given up on my own brews. Occasionally I will drink a porter or stout that reminds me of my old home brew.
Yeah I just have fun with the brewing the one time it is actually cost effective however is when you're brewing beer that you can usually only get as an import or other high cost source.
Ok I finally made it back to try that beer again. I haven't had a beer since so it has been nearly a week. I drink wine more regularly and my spouse makes certain to give a frown if I drink beer every night. But I went back tonight and had the seasonal ale. Hopworks Abominal ale. Not spiced. But beautifully malty and hoppy and strong. It is no doubt my favorite beer at the moment. 3 pints and my walk home was not on a straight line. It is too bad that this beer group is so poorly attended and that the only two people who check in are so far apart.
Still haven't had a chance to try any of the real holiday ales.
I tried a bottle of that Alaskan Winter Ale last night and found it to be nothing at all. Just a run of the mill, slightly sweeter than an IPA, ale. I didn't get the spruce tips or anything. One of the most disappointing Winter Ales I have ever tried.
Now you know where I'm coming from. I seriously think some companies just take one of their standard beers and add spices or other flavoring when they want a flavored beer this is just bad form it doesn't lend itself to a balance of flavors. This is why since I tried the few winter ales with spices I've avoided them like the plague I'd rather spend $10-$20 on a single 750ml bottle of some sort of Belgian than $9 on a sixer of spiced wrong beer.
That sweeter than normal taste actually comes from the spruce tips it should have an almost wintergreen flavor but not quite.
"Sex is like expensive beer.....all the same. Some you just pay more for."
Actual quote from some guy on another forum.
Well that is a really sad or ignorant perspective. OF course. That is the statement of someone wanting others to know how sad life is for him.
But seriously this statement basically says he has never tried any beer not from the big three. I think anyone could tell the difference in quality between a bottle of even Fat Tire vs a bottle of Miller High Life.
Hey Monkeykoder, do you see Full Sail Ales down there? It is a brewery started in Hood River Oregon in the Columbia Gorge though I think they have put a brewery in Portland. It used to be pretty lame for micro brew but they got a better brew master some years ago and since then they have put out some outstanding special ales. On Christmas day I tried a beer from them called LTD. I wouldn't have bought it except the store I went to didn't have what I wanted and they had this I had never tried. I drank a bottle of it last night while home alone and could sit and consider it and realized it is a very good bottle of beer. I hadn't realized until I read the bottle that it is a Lager. And very strong at 6.4%. It is creamy smooth and delicious and does pack quite a kick.
Yeah Full Sail is distributed down here but oddly enough I haven't tried any. Lately I've been sticking to New Belgium because I'm broke and they're pretty much the cheapest beer of a quality I'll drink.
Actually most the great ales from Full Sail are on tap only. Their winter brew is called Wreck the Halls and in the past has been top notch but this year is a relative disappointment. If all they have in your stores is IPA or Amber, don't bother with it.
For the most part I think they usually have the pale ale but the local bev-mo usually has a lot more than that.
Man-O-man, once I saw this group's name, I knew I had to join. I'm a big fan of finely hand-crafted brew, and my figure shows it
I live in Houston, Texas, and we are fortunate to have St. Arnold here. I'm not all that familiar with their history, but they are Texas' oldest craft brewery and recently won two World Gold Medals for their brews. They still refer to themselves as a micro brewery, but they manage to keep the local grocery and liquor store shelves well stocked. My favorite is their Winter Stout, which is hard to find outside a well-stocked liquor store. Next is their Elissa IPA.
Up in Ft. Bragg California, well north of San Francisco, is the North Coast Brewing Company. Their Old Rasputin Stout is one of the best stouts I've ever tasted. Guiness? Fagedaboudit. They wish they could brew a stout as good. I discovered this elixir five years ago while visiting a friend who lives up thataway. Fortunately, Spec's, the best-stocked liquor store chain in Houston, carries it.
Actually, one of the best stouts I've had (can you tell I like stouts?) can't be bought anywhere. My nephew has a bud who's into zymurgy. Last year, this guy showed up at a party at my sister's house with a keg of his own dark brew that was just knock-your-socks-off spectacular. Made me want to try the brew-your-own thing using his recipe, it did.
I have a question for you guys -- Anheuser Busch has recently begun to offer a variety of "handcrafted" brews. This link shows what they offer:
Most of them, I like a lot, especially the Pale Ale, the Irish Red, the Porter, and the Marzen. So, I'm thinking that growing breweries, such as Sam Adams, and successful micro breweries, such as St. Arnold, have been cutting into the Big Boys' sales to the point where they're beginning to sit up and take notice. So, do you think that, with this sort of move (a brilliant one, I think, btw), AB will be able to wrest market share away from the smaller micro breweries, or are the micro breweries fairly secure in the niches they've carved for themselves?