Quick Pour: Dessert Wine Varieties

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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12 Beers of Christmas: Bell’s Cherry Stout (Day 1)

Day 1: Bell’s Cherry Stout Producer: Bell’s Brewing Company Beer Name: Cherry Stout Price Range: $3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 7% Appearance: Black, not cloudy, very thin off-white head Aroma: Cocoa, black licorice, cherry Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a clear black with almost no head. The aroma is rich with cocoa, black licorice, and lots of cherry. The taste is rich with the same, with a lot of sour cherry and hints of dark chocolate. The middle is silky smooth, with the sour cherry twist in the finish. Overall, this beer is pretty smooth despite the 7% ABV, although the body is a little thin. Still, this is a great beer and one of my favorites of the season. Day 1: Bell's Cherry Stout Producer: Bell's Brewing Company Beer Name: Cherry Stout Price Range: $3 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 7% Appearance: Black, not cloudy, very thin off-white head Aroma: Cocoa, black licorice, cherry …

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Quick Pour: Bodegas Breca Old Vine Garnacha 2011

Bodegas Breca Old Vine Garnacha 2011 Producer: Bodegas Breca Winery Region: D.O. Calatayud, Spain Price: $18.99 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Garnacha (Grenache) ABV: 15.5% Virginia Pour House Notes: Bold and supple, this wine delivers an overload of fragrance – bearing licorice, chocolate, and cola with sweet tobacco leaf. Full-bodied and built on a foundation of licorice and silky, smooth chocolate, a silky tannin lines the entire palate. The finish is memorable and lengthy while adding a red carpet of spice and dried black fruit. Beautiful and smooth with some age worthy characteristics. Excellent value buy!!   Bodegas Breca Old Vine Garnacha 2011 Producer: Bodegas Breca Winery Region: D.O. Calatayud, Spain Price: $18.99 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Garnacha (Grenache) ABV: 15.5% Virginia Pour House Notes: Bold and supple, this wine delivers an overload of fragrance - bearing licorice, chocolate, and cola with sweet tobacco leaf. Full-bodied and built on a foundation of licorice and silky, smooth …

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25 Pours of Christmas (Pour 5): Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel 2011

Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel 2011 Producer: Peachy Canyon Vineyards Region: Paso Robles AVA, California, USA Price: $14 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Zinfandel ABV: 15% Virginia Pour House Notes: Medium to full bodied, deep and dense with inky purple color. This Zin offers smooth dark berry, cigar box, and hints of dried plum and cocoa lead to chewy, peppery tannins that carry copious amounts of plum, sweet tobacco, and baking spice mid palate. Carrying on to a supple fruit driven finish, tannins warm all the way down and leave behind sweet cola notes. A perfect steak wine or to accompany a Holiday roast.   Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel 2011 Producer: Peachy Canyon Vineyards Region: Paso Robles AVA, California, USA Price: $14 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Zinfandel ABV: 15% Virginia Pour House Notes: Medium to full bodied, deep and dense with inky purple color. This Zin offers smooth dark berry, cigar box, and hints …

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25 Pours of Christmas (Pour 4): Shaw Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Shaw Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Producer: Shaw Vineyard & Winery Region: Seneca Lake AVA, Finger Lakes AVA, New York, USA Price: $18 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc ABV: 13% Virginia Pour House Notes: Notes of citrus and grass lead the nose with bright acidity shining on the palate adding nuances of honeysuckle up front followed closely by crisp, white peach and hints of lemongrass. A creamy palate texture and a smooth finish with just a touch of zest towards the back palate concludes New York State white gem. We originally opened this bottle in the Spring, but it had held up very well and still had bold acidity. This would be perfect for a traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.   Shaw Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Producer: Shaw Vineyard & Winery Region: Seneca Lake AVA, Finger Lakes AVA, New York, USA Price: $18 Vintage: 2011 Varietals: 100% Sauvignon …

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