There is a great diversity to what breweries proffer as holiday seasonals; from winter warmers, to spiced ales, to delicious stouts, to robust barley wines there is no end to the variety and as such, I am really looking forward to trying out twenty-four different Christmas beer leading up to the holidays.
For me, winter beers should be something decadent, something that warms you from the inside out on a cold night and something that embodies the spirit of the holiday through its’ use of seasonal ingredients.
On that note let’s get to it and peek behind door number one…
James Pierpont’s 1857 song Jingle Bells was first called One Horse Open Sleigh and was written for Thanksgiving.
The honour of the first beer in my Christmas Advent Calendar goes to Jolly Roger Christmas Ale from Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. in Seattle.
Jolly Roger Christmas pours a red amber colour with good clarity. There is some white head but it does not stick around. The nose is malty at first but the hoppiness cuts through pretty quickly. At first swig this one seems quite hopped, light to medium bodied with a bitter lingering finish. As it warms the hops settle down a bit and you get malt character emerging giving it an almost sticky mouthfeel but not excessively so. Overall an interesting ale but I am not sure what makes this one Christmas beer, if it is spiced it is not coming through prominently enough to make you think seasonal. It’s one of those conundrums where the beer is not bad but as a Christmas beer it doesn’t quite cut it.
I am giving this one four candy canes out of a possible ten.