Tasting: November 16, 2012
Style: Imperial Stout
Santa’s Little Helper
(c) 2012 popsonhops
Thankfully, the pumpkin ales have hit the bargain bin and soon will be a distant memory. Next up, the onslaught of Christmas/Holiday seasonal ales. Unlike pumpkin ales, there are some really nice Christmas (or holiday) ales — Troeggs Mad Elf and Anchor’s Christmas Ale come to mind. However, there are a number of brewers that release what I’ll call “coincidental” holiday beers. They aren’t jacked up with the nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon that might have been left over from brewing pumpkin ales. Sierra Nevada releases Celebration this time of year and the label is adorned with poinsettias and a cabin covered in snow – yet it’s more of a harvest/fresh hop ale. It even says as much on the label. Lagunitas gave us Lagunitas Sucks last year – complete with a Santa-shaped starfish on the label. The only thing that reminded me of Christmas was the pine-flavored hops. I think the same can be said about this offering. I think it’s only holiday in name and appearance. I like it. I like the fact that brewers will release a seasonal and not feel as if they need to add the obligatory yuletide potpourri.
In the simplest of terms, this one is a pleasant – a really nice imperial stout. At 10% ABV – the alcohol is beautifully concealed and the flavors are perky — roasted and creamy dark chocolate over minor coffee. It may not have the wow characteristics, but it doesn’t have many flaws. It’s a solid 88 from me.