Now that Halloween is behind us, I don't feel so guilty about popping the top on some of the first-to-arrive holiday brews. Seems they come in earlier and earlier but, with Christmas merchandise already hitting store shelves, what can you expect? While we haven't gotten our first real frost, the cooler temperatures make the winter brews a bit more welcome.
Deschutes Jubelale, $1.60-$1.90
This coffee colored brew throws a decent head, but it collapses quickly leaving a light lacing. Opens with brown sugar coated raisin and fig aromas. Definitely a malt driven style, but there's just enough hops on the finish to keep things in balance. You get flavors of vanilla, caramel, mocha and cafe au lait. A nice, warming brew with a bit of spice.
Full Sail Wassail, $1.50-$1.80
An ebony colored pour with a ruby tinge, the thin, tan head does not linger. The aromas are malt driven with a graham cracker and caramel edge. Lightly carbonated, as you'd expect from the head, the flavors are smooth, lightly sweet, with just a touch of bitter hops. You get toffee, toasted malt, spice and a touch of hazelnut.
Sierra Nevada 2016 Celebration Ale, $1.60-$1.90
A three-finger froth tops this copper colored brew, collapsing slowly and leaving a thick lacing. Celebration has always been a hop-forward, holiday brew and this year's is no exception. Slightly muted aromas of citrus laced hops come through. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced with creamy malt punctuated by just the right hit of bitter hops, and sweet citrus on the finish. Outstanding.