Happy holidays y’all! Hope you are enjoying your day with family and loved ones. During these cold and dark days of winter punctuated with bright lights and delicious beer, we’ve come up with a list of twelve beers that we plan on enjoying to celebrate. Feel free to chime in with your favorites. Cheers!
Laurelwood Organic Espresso Stout – Get your day started right with that cold cup of java in beer-form. Laurelwood’s Organic Espresso Stout is an approachable 6.3% ABV with a decent hop bitterness (34 IBU) from Nugget and Cascade hops. The base beer is made from from Organic 2-Row, Organic Crystal 60, Organic Roast Barley, Organic Carafa, Organic Chocolate malt, and Organic Coffee malts. A collaboration with Portland Roasting, Laurelwood brewed a base stout, then cold steeped an Organic Guatemalan and Ethiopian blend to compliment and accentuate the roast, chocolate and coffee flavors already in the malt base . The result is a smooth dark ale that has layers of dark, rich roast flavor. Here’s Brewmaster Vasilios Gletsos with some more details:
Hopworks Abominable Ale – Haven’t tried Hopworks Abominable yet? Get yourself a can of this awesome brew to keep you warm through the winter. A big, malty winter warmer with a generous amount of Northwest hops.Now available in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at HUB’s brewpubs and in retailers across Oregon and Washington, A-bomb, if you can find it, is also available at the pub and select locations on cask.
BridgePort Ebenezer Ale – Four different malts and a blend of regional and European hops make this winter warmer from a Beervana original a perennial hit around the holidays. This hybrid of English and Pacific Northwest traditions holds a rich mahogany hue and lots of rich caramel and biscuit notes. 6.4% ABV, so you can have more than one. Don’t be a scrooge, make sure to share with that special beer lover in your life who appreciates a well-built classic. If you’re feeling like going bolder, try BridgePort’s Old Knucklehead Barleywine, also sure to take the edge off and warm you up.
Oakshire Ill-Tempered Gnome – Quickly becoming a wintertime classic is Oakshire’s Ill-Tempered Gnome from one of Eugene’s finest brewhouse. A hoppy brown ale available as a seasonal treat, the Gnome is a food friendly brew designed to be paired with the likes roast pork, grilled sausages, smoked salmon, aged gouda, mild blue, burgers, bread pudding, or to simply stand mightily on its own. Find Ill-Tempered Gnome on draught on in 22-0unce bottles. For those looking to amp it up a notch, seek out the beefed up imperial rendition known as Very Ill-Tempered Gnome.
Vertigo Arctic Blast – From Hillsboro, a town whose mascot is the Hops, comes this joyous winter delight. Vertigo’s Arctic Blast is a vanilla robust porter featuring Briess Pale malt balanced with Roast, Dark, Crystal and Munich malts that allow for the perfect mix of malted barley with Madagascar vanilla bean. Lightly hopped to allow a slight roast, dominant chocolate and vanilla bean character to come through, this beer borders on the low end of the IBU scale and the high side for Original Gravity. Get blasted!
The Commons Little Brother – The Commons Brewery’s Little Brother is a wintry dark strong Ale with a distinctive Belgian personality. A bold 9% ABV beer that pours dark brown, with shades of ruby and a creamy tan head. The flavor is dominated by caramel, and candy and offers a smooth finish. For those seeking out a more fortified rendition, try the Bourbon Little Brother aged in Heaven Hills barrels. You certainly won’t be let down.
10 Barrel Pray For Snow – 10 Barrel’s winter warmer, like the Oakshire Ill-Tempered Gnome is one you’ve come to know and love. With the recipe tweaked a bit over the years to strike a perfect balance, this year’s Pray For Snow makes use of 8 different specialty malts to deliver a complex and thought-provoking malt blanket. To complement this the brewers used a combination of herbal, spicy, and citrus hops to keep this beer in balance. As a bonus, the Bend brewery has put together a super limited release of the beer with several months aging in Brandy barrels, adding nuances of oak, vanilla, and candied fruit.
Coalition Lost Glove – Both English and American base malts give Coalition’s Lost Glove a hefty 8% ABV. British Brown malt and Chilean Caramel malt lend it color and sweetness. Five different hops give this beer a complex but approachable hop profile to balance out the malty sweetness. Apollo hops are used for bittering, while Tettnangers and Cascades round out the middle and a blend of three comprise the hop back. Stop by the brewpub and check it out before the last Lost Glove is gone!
Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale – Bison’s ever popular Gingerbread Ale is a delicately spiced holiday porter brewed with ginger, nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon. This medium-bodied ale boasts an intoxicating aroma of fresh baked gingerbread cookies straight from the oven. Well-balanced flavors of molasses, chewy dark malts and holiday spice dominate the palate, leaving behind a smooth, dry spicy finish. Bison’s Gingerbread Ale is an excellent match for all your favorite holiday favorites from roasted sweet potatoes to candied yams, game, duck, butternut squash soup, curries, Thanksgiving turkey, bread pudding, pumpkin pie and cheesecake.
Columbia River Paddler’s Porter – From Portland’s finest stout brewers comes this chocolate and vanilla Baltic Porter with a bold 8.5% ABV and a snappy 46 IBU. This rich dark lager is made with a blend of seven malts and both Nugget and East Kent Goldings hops. The addition of chocolate nibs and Madagascar vanilla beans make this beer smooth and creamy. Don’t pass up on this one before it’s gone!
Deschutes Jubelale – What can you say about Jubelale from Deschutes that hasn’t been said before. A true Oregon winter classic, Jubelale celebrates the breweries 25th anniversary with a beautiful label made of collage art from previous years’ artful designs. The beer inside is an English-style olde ale has ties to the traditional Celebration Ales of England. Characterized by a very large malt body and pronounced bitterness, Jubelale contains five different varieties of hops and a healthy amount of caramel. Cheers!
21st Amendment Fireside Chat – A delicious twist on the celebrated winter warmer style, Fireside Chat is our early winter seasonal brew available from October through December in six pack cans and on draft. Brewed like a classic, warming Strong Ale but with a subtle blend of hand-selected spices for just the right festive flair. A little know fact is that this 7.9% ABV ale features chocolate in the recipe as well as spices. Lots of flavor is derived from Pale, Munich, Wheat, Crystal, Aromatic, Chocolate and De-Bittered Black Malts alongside the healthy addition of 45 IBU worth of Golding and Magnum hops.
So there’s a dozen classics or soon to be classics for the holidays. Here’s wishing you the best holiday season ever. Stay safe and love each other! Cheers!
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org