Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas / Winter Ales

I picked up three Christmas Ales / Winter Ales for Christmas dinner and the evening.  First up was Sierra Nevada - Celebration Ale with an ABV of 6.8% and IBU of 65.  This was a nice ale to enjoy with dinner of a standing rib roast (prime rib with the bone) as it cut through the fat and the malt blended well with the rib.  I also thought this went well with the pecan pie.  Sierra Nevada describes Celebration Ale as "The long, cold nights of winter are a little brighter with Celebration® Ale. Wonderfully robust and rich, Celebration® Ale is dry-hopped for a lively, intense aroma. Brewed especially for the holidays, it is perfect for a festive gathering or for a quiet evening at home."  Celebration Ale has won a number of awards and this is a nice brew.

Next up was 2 Degrees Below by New Belgium with an ABV of 6.6% and IBU of 32.  I probably should have had this one first as the lower IBU after the Celebration Ale made this beer a "let-down" for me.  It is not a bad beer, but I was expecting a little more kick.  New Belgium describes 2 Degrees Below as "Pull on your wool socks and crack open a 2° Below Ale. This tasty winter warmer started life as a small batch beer brewed for the Al Johnson Uphill Downhill a telemark ski race in Crested Butte, Colorado. The Uphill Downhill celebrates the exploits of Al Johnson, letter carrier extraordinaire, who delivered mail by ski in the late 1800 s. Dry hopping during fermentation creates a floral nose with a hint of pepper and spicy, subtle undertones. 2° Below provides a bright, hoppy palate and a cheery warm afterglow. "  I did not find this beer hoppy at all - probably because of the higher hopped Celebration Ale.

The last tasting of the evening was Ska's Euphoria Ale at ABV of 6.1% and IBU of ??.  This is a nice ale and I appreciated more hops / bitterness after the 2 Degrees Below.   This one poured a nice golden brown with a head that quickly receded.  Nice aroma from the hops and this was a nice beer.  I think the best of the evening.  I am a fan of craft beer in cans and I think the cans keep the beer in better condition than bottles.  Ska describes Euphoria as an IPA, but lists pale ale on the can and the Ska description states -  “This seasonal beer is brewed in the Do It Yourself (DIY) spirit along with our friends from Bayfield at the Venture Snowboard Factory. An India Pale Ale, the Euphoria is crafted with piles and piles of Golding hops to provide a unique spicy finish. Great for after hitting the slopes. Anarchic enlightenment: (1) Brewed in strict accordance to D.I.Y. methodology, the beer of choice for epic powder days. (2) brewed and bottled by Ska Brewing Company, Durango Colorado using the finest hops, yeast, malted barley and San Juan waters.”  I like this beer and I would purchase it again.

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