Beers Notes: 7 Beers at Christmas Time

The holidays are over and it is time to reflect. Time to reflect on the memories of a Christmas morn and the beers that were drunk during the time spent with family. I have 7 brews lined up in this edition of the beers notes. Some missing but I will catch up on them another time. My dad was a huge help these past couple days as we split every brew (22oz bomber) I reviewed which made it possible to review so many brews in a couple days. It was cool going to Spirit Haus (Amherst MA) and Table & Vine (West Springfield MA) with my dad to get a fantastic selection of brews both local and not. Hope you find something you like in that I wrote about. Let’s get to the beers!

High and Mighty Purity of Essence

My dad picked this one up at a local store because it was a local beer. We split this brew among two pint glasses. It poured a an unfiltered orange. This has a light floral scent but not as hoppy as I expected. Just like the smell, you can taste the hops with none of the bitterness. Hints of grapefruit and some other tropical fruit. Very well carbonated. Overall this was a good brew by the Shelton Brothers. I recommend it.

Narragansett Porter

Father and son share a couple gansetts

One word, Gansett. When there is no craft beer in the dive bars I frequent, I reach for a tall boy of gansett. Recently they released a porter in a can and I had to try it. I picked up a 6-pack to bring to my grandmas house where the beer drinkers of the family rely on Busch, so I had to bring my own. Drank this baby straight out of the can because I like to make a rule that if it comes in a can, don’t pour it in a glass. From the can it did not smell like the usual $2 tall boys I grab at the bar. Rich chocolatey malt taste which makes you second guess yourself. Are you really drinking a beer of this quality out of a tall boy? It was extremely smooth going down with some moderate carbonation. I have read nothing but good reviews for this beer and they are all true. While the original ‘Gansetts are near the bottom of the totem pole craft beer wise, these porter tall boys are some serious competition in the canned craft beer realm. I highly recommend this beer and at about $7 a 6-pack, why wouldn’t you at least try it?

Element Brewing Red Giant


This was a good one. My dad picked this one up for us to taste when I came home. This is a bottled conditioned brew meaning its does all the fermenting and aging in the bottle. After unwrapping the bottle form the bag it was wrapped in we poured it in a couple pint glasses. It poured a foggy amber color with some sediment floating around. I smelled some dark cherry/fig with some other dark fruits. This was rich and full of flavor. Tasted Caramel malt and other sweet malts. Full body and well carbonated. This was my first bottle conditioned brew and my first brew from element. This was an awesome brew that I would go after again to have some more time with it. Good to know it’s a local beer from back home around Turners Falls. If you haven’t had a brew from them or a bottle conditioned brew, this is the one to start with! Highly recommended.

Harpoon Chocolate Stout


I was tempted to grab one bottle of this to add to my mixed 4-pack because I love me a chocolate stout. I poured it in a tumbler and split it with my dad. The stout pours pitch black with little head. Smells of light chocolate syrup, chocolate malt, nothing overwhelming. Chocolate malt  is predominant taste in this. Some cocoa flavor which doesn’t seem natural. I didn’t like the amount of carbonation for this beer. I’m not used to this much carbonation from chocolate brew. This stout is not my favorite of the chocolate stouts. It didn’t seem to have the body that I would expect of a chocolate brew. I thoroughly enjoyed Sam Adams’ Chocolate Bock which was rick and appropriately carbonated. This one just fell a little short. Can’t say I recommended this one.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack and Ken’s Ale


After uncorking a bottle of Infinium (review to come), I wanted to ty out come more corked beers. I have read a lot of good reviews on the series of 30th Anniversary beers from Sierra Nevada and had to try one. I poured this in a couple tulip glasses for my dad and me. Pours a Thick black color with a good amount of head. Smells of chocolate and hops.  Rich flavor of both natural chocolate flavor and chocolate malt. Alcohol comes through with this big 10% abv barleywine. Very tasty! Oh so smooth! I have no idea why I waited so ling to try this. I think the cork and fancy label kept me away but the beer is just as classy as the labeling. This is one beer in the line of four ’30th Anniversary’ brews from Sierra. Get it, love it, let me know what you thought of it.

Rogue Yellow Snow IPA


I absolutley picked this one up for the name. Rogue has some of the best names in beer and some cool labels to go with them. I poured a foggy yellow into the pint glass, like urine in the snow… which describes why it is named as such :). I smelled the usual citrus fruits in an IPA, nothing too predominant. Tasting the hops, they stick around to the end with this one. Lemon/Grapefruit tastes as well. Well carbonated but leaves my mouth a little dry. : I think I expected more from this one.  As far as an IPA is concerned it’s standard and drinkable but I’ve had better. It’s worth a try.

Gritty’s Christmas Ale


While my parents nap after serving a kick ass christmas lunch, I lay on the couch and watch my new favorite show, The League. This brew accompanied me. This poured a light amber color in the pint glass (yup that’s a blue frog on the pint glass 🙂 ) This brew had a sweet smell, almost candy like. Tasted cherries, red licorice,sweet malt. Hop taste is absent. Refreshing and bubbly This is your run of the mill Ale. A big step up from their Halloween Ale and as I taste it on Christmas I wonder if there is better time to taste it…nope. Try this brew.

And those are the beers I was able to take notes on. I will get a review of Infinium up on a separate post as it is a special brew. Hope eveyrone has a great holiday!

Cheers,

B