Beer by Variety

12 Beers of Christmas: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (Day 11)

One of my favorite Dogfish Head beers makes an appearance on the 11th day of Beermas! Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron Producer: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Milton, DE Beer Name: Palo Santo Marron Style: Brown Ale Price Range: $3-4 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 12% Appearance: Black, opaque with small tan head Aroma: Wood, smoke, malty Virginia Pour House Review: Dogfish Head is one of my favorite craft breweries. Their year-round brews are normally pretty solid, especially some of their bigger beers like Palo Santo Marron. The 11th day features this big, smoky, brown ale. For a “brown ale”, this beer sure looks pretty black to me. It is opaque with a nice tan head that settles upon sitting. This beer is aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels made from Palo Santo wood and that comes through in the aroma. Despite the high ABV and big, smoky, woody aroma, this beer is surprisingly …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Flying Dog Double Dog (Day 10)

Back-to-back Maryland beers, as Flying Dog’s flagship double IPA makes the list! Flying Dog Double Dog Producer: Flying Dog Brewery; Frederick, MD Beer Name: Double Dog Style: Double IPA Price Range: $2-3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 11.5% Appearance: Bright amber, nice foamy white head Aroma: Malty and earthy with some pine notes Virginia Pour House Review: Ah, Flying Dog. Despite their hit-or-miss potential, they remain one of my favorite local breweries, hailing from Frederick, Maryland. Their flagship beers are usually pretty spot on, and there is a special place in my heart for their Bloodlines Blood Orange IPA. Double Dog is a massive double IPA, checking in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. It pours a clear, bright amber with a nice white head that retains a bit upon sitting. The aroma is malty, with earthy undertones and some pine notes, but is not very strong overall. The taste, however, is. There is …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Evolution Rise Up Stout (Day 9)

The 9th day of Beermas features a local Maryland stout brewed with coffee. Evolution Rise Up Stout Producer: Evolution Brewing Company; Salisbury, MD Beer Name: Rise Up Stout Style: Stout Price Range: $2-3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 6.7% Appearance: Solid black, small tan head Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, bitter, cocoa Virginia Pour House Review: Evolution Brewing Company is a small brewery out of Salisbury, Maryland. Their beers have generally been hit or miss for me, but this one is pretty highly reviewed on Beer Advocate and I am a fan of coffee stouts, so here goes. The beer pours a solid, opaque black with a small tan head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is strong with bitter malts, chocolate, cocoa, and coffee. The taste is slightly bitter but smooth overall, with hints of cocoa and light-roast coffee. The coffee is most prevalent in the finish and lingers for a bit on the palate. …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Schlafly Christmas Ale (Day 8)

Day 8 features another festive, spiced ale from Schlafly. the latest in their Special Release annual series. Schlafly Christmas Ale Producer: Schlafly Brewing Company; St. Louis, Missouri Beer Name: Christmas Ale Style: Spiced Beer Price Range: $2-3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 8% Appearance: Clear brown, thin foamy tan head Aroma: Cinnamon, nutmeg, nutty Virginia Pour House Review: Schlafly Brewing Company rotates seasonal limited-release beers in their Special Release series. These include Tasmanian IPA, Pumpkin Ale, and the latest, Christmas Ale. This one pours a deep, clear brown, roughly chestnut-colored, with a thin, foamy, tan head. The aroma is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, with a roasty nuttiness behind it. At first taste, the spice blends very nicely with the roasted malts. There is some cinnamon, nutmeg, and maybe even a hint of ginger, but a nice backbone that has a subtle roasted flavor. There is not a hint of booziness despite …

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12 Beers of Christmas: New Belgium Frambozen (Day 7)

The 7th of 12 Beers of Christmas is a fruity, festive beer from one of the largest craft brewers in the country. New Belgium Frambozen Producer: New Belgium Brewing; Fort Collins, CO Beer Name: Frambozen Style: Brown Ale; Fruit Beer Price Range: $2-3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 6.5% Appearance: Clear reddish, brown, no head Aroma: Roasted malt, chocolate, raspberry Virginia Pour House Review: The bottle of this beer proclaims that “Frambozen” is Flemish for “raspberry.” There is certainly a lot of raspberry in the nose of this beer, to accompany the rich roasted malt and chocolate notes. The beer pours a reddish brown, almost mahogany and is perfectly clear with almost no head. Raspberry takes center stage in this one, but it’s a nice balance between sweet and sour. There are hints of roasted malt and very faint chocolate near the finish, but it it mostly raspberry. The fruit is not …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Green Flash Double Stout (Day 6)

The sixth day of Beermas features an enormous, tasty stout from the West Coast! Green Flash Double Stout Producer: Green Flash Brewing Company; San Diego, CA Beer Name: Double Stout Style: Stout Price Range: $3-4 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 8.8% Appearance: Solid black, almost no head Aroma: Roasted malt, sweet, milky Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a solid black with a very small tan head. The beer smells of dark malts but is also sweet and milky. There are golden oats that lend an almost honey-like aroma as well. The first thing I notice about this beer upon tasting it is that it’s thick. It’s not a stout for the faint of heart. There is some light bitterness in the middle with hints of dark chocolate and coffee, but very faint. These flavors are more present as the beer warms up. Overall it’s very smooth for being such a …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Sly Fox Christmas Ale (Day 5)

Day 5 features a festive ale from Pennsylvania! Sly Fox Christmas Ale Producer: Sly Fox Brewing Co.; Pottstown, PA Beer Name: Christmas Ale Style: Spiced Ale Price Range: $2-3 / can (12 oz) ABV: 5.5% Appearance: Deep amber, clear, small white head Aroma: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a clear, deep, amber with a small white head. The aroma is all spice, with notes of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The taste is all spice, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a festive enough beer, but spiced ales like this that combine so many different spices often lack an identity. All the spices blend together and overpower the overall taste of the beer. The can says that the beer contains ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. All those spices are there, but the result is a bit much and leaves a cloying bitterness behind. This isn’t a bad beer, …

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12 Beers of Christmas: BrewDog Hardcore IPA (Day 4)

The 4th day of Beermas features a beer from the Brew Dogs in Scotland! BrewDog Hardcore IPA Producer: BrewDog Brewery; Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Beer Name: Hardcore IPA Style: English IPA Price Range: $3-4 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 9.2% Appearance: Mostly clear amber, fizzy off-white head Aroma: Slight booziness, almost metallic, but hoppy Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a mostly clear, brilliant amber that reflects nicely in the light, with a small off-white head. The aroma is typical of English IPAs, hoppy but with a boozy, almost metallic aroma. It is not indicative of a typical West Coast-style American IPA but more similar to an East Coast one. The beer is surprisingly light-bodied despite the 9.2% ABV, but packs a lot of nice hop bitterness. The hops in this one are earthy and combine nicely with the light Maris Otter malts. Despite the hop punch and relatively light body, the malts shine through, …

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12 Beers of Christmas: Blue Mountain Lights Out (Day 3)

Twelve Beers of Christmas continues with a local Virginia brew!   Blue Mountain Lights Out Producer: Blue Mountain Brewery; Arrington, VA Beer Name: Lights Out Style: Old Ale Price Range: $2 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 7% Appearance: Dark brown, small foamy tan head, cloudy Aroma: Dark fruit, fig, raisin, plum, sweet, light roastiness Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a cloudy brown with a small, foamy, tan head. The aroma includes notes of dark fruits and is sweet with some light roastiness. I get possibly a little fig, raisin, and maybe some plum aromas but it’s mostly understated. There is some dark fruit in the taste, but it’s pretty light-bodied overall, with strong bitterness in the middle. The fruit blends in a weird way with the hops. The taste is pretty accurate for the style, although I’m not a huge fan of old ales in general. What is confusing me about this …

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12 Beers of Christmas: 21st Amendment Fireside Chat (Day 2)

It occurred to me that I gave no context to this series in my first post. Each of the last three years, my wonderful beer-loving wife has bought me twelve beers and given me one each day for twelve days leading up to Christmas. They are usually festive beers and she tries to get me beers that I haven’t had before, but sometimes they are old standbys. Day 1 was Bell’s Cherry Stout, a seasonal beer but also one of my favorite stouts. Now, on to Day 2: 21st Amendment Fireside Chat Producer: 21st Amendment Brewery Beer Name: Fireside Chat Style: Spiced Beer Price Range: $2 / can (12 oz) ABV: 7.9% Appearance: Dark brown, foamy tan head Aroma: Dark fruit, plum, fig, nutty, cocoa Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a clear brown with a foamy tan head. The aroma includes notes of dark fruits like plum and fig and has a nutty …

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