Hoppin’ Frog Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

The other half and I headed to her family’s for the holidays. We were lucky and didn’t hit any traffic. We spent a few days with her mother and stepfather and it was really nice. Everyone was very friendly and the food was really tasty. They live in Connecticut, but not that far over the New York border. Anyways, this was a brew that I picked up a few weeks ago. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 8.6%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The essence of Christmas is captured in this very bottle. Perfectly blended spices compliment Frosted Frog’s rich malt flavors, creating the ultimate Christmas experience. Celebrate the holidays as you savor this very special seasonal offering.”

Random: It’s been over a month since I’ve had a beer from Hoppin’ Frog.

This beer poured with a one finger, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, ruby-red color with light carbonation. The nose had currants, cinnamon, nutmeg and fruit cake. The taste started with gingerbread, raisin and figs along with fruit cake. After a few sips, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon came through. It also had some booze warming on the end. The body was on the thick side with lighter carbonation than expected. The finish was long with a lot of holiday spice and booze warming at the back of the throat. For $10.49 a bomber, this was a moderately priced holiday beer that packed the spice. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale

As I mentioned, the other half and I headed to Philly this weekend. Our first stop for dinner was Jose Pistolas. I had been there a few years ago and really enjoyed their food. They had recently had a Great Lakes tap takeover. The dining room was really dark, so expect super crappy pictures. Anyways, we got tacos for dinner and the brussels sprout taco was out of this world good. We also had the tuna taco which I really enjoyed. I’ll be posting a review of the place as a beer spot, but before that, let’s see how this beer was.

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ABV: 7.5%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A holiday ale brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon.”

Random: I know it’s too early for Christmas beers, but this one looked really good.

This beer poured with a half a finger of thick tan head that was very slow to dissipate into a tulip. The body was a deep, dark copper color with heavy carbonation visible, despite being very dark and difficult to see. The nose was big with some dark fruit, nutmeg and allspice along with burnt sugar. The taste had notes of cherries, dark fruit and boozy sweetness which also had nutmeg. There was a touch of spruce with cloves as well. Ginger came through after a few sips as well. It had a thick body and high carbonation with relatively hidden alcohol. It had a long, warm finish with cherries and cloves. This was a really enjoyable winter beer that I would definitely have again. If you see one on the shelves, grab it. You won’t be disappointed.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Columbus Winter Warmer

My home office is located in Ohio. I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends with people who work there. One of them sent me and the lawyer a care package for Christmas that included a six-pack of this beer, which is local to them and honestly, I’ve never heard of. I was excited to give this one a try.

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ABV: 7.5%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery, “England’s soggy, gray winters inspired brewers to make ales known as winter warmers. Ours is a blend of English Maris Otter malts, special caramel malts accented with hints of ginger and cinnamon. Best enjoyed in the company of family and friends.”

Random: The brewery only offers two-year round offerings, an IPA and a pale ale.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a very cloudy amber color with lots of visible floaties in it. There was light carbonation visible as well. The nose was mild with some caramel notes and winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The taste had a more marked spice presence. Lots of cinnamon was present with nutmeg and clove. There was also a bit of malt with some peppercorn as well. There wasn’t any booze warming. The body was on the thick side with heavy carbonation. The finish was long and spicy. Although this brew didn’t pull any punches, it was a solid holiday offering that I would definitely have again. If you’re in Ohio around the holidays, give this one a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Dark Horse 4 Elf

Today was one of those days that I really did not feel like getting up. It’s usually worse when I don’t get a full twelve hours off from work. I knew that I had to come in early today since we had a lot of trucks going out, so when the alarm went off around 0500, I hit the snooze button. I kept hitting the snooze button for at least an hour, which did not make the other half all that happy. I guess next time, I should just get my behind out of bed. Anyways, this is another leftover from one of my travels and was obviously a holiday seasonal. Hopefully it’s still good…

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ABV: 8.75%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A spiced Winter Warmer brewed with nutmeg, clove, allspice and other holiday flavors.”

Random: I really find Rod Stewart’s voice irritating.

This brew poured with a full, one finger thick tan head that dissipated very slowly. The body was a very cloudy dark brown with lots of visible tan detritus. The nose was relatively mild, especially for the style. Even so, I got some burnt sugar and syrupy malt and not much else. The taste thankfully had a bit more going on. I got a touch of licorice up front, then some raisins with dark malt. Some spice notes came through as well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and then a touch of cocoa powder. There was a peat presence as well. The body was thick with heavy carbonation. It had a long finish with spice and peat. The flavors on it were okay, but really not great and were a bit disjointed. I wouldn’t rush to have this one again, nor would I search it out since it’s not available in Jersey.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

So, my girlfriend and I were sitting on the couch watching the Golden Globes and she said that we don’t watch enough movies. Since she is in charge of the remote, we pretty much watch whatever is on the DVR, including “Super Fun Night.” This show is absolutely awful. She insists that it is getting better, but the show is absolutely awful. Anyways, at least this beer is hopefully not as awful as that show…
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ABV: 7.4%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: The malts and the hops of this beer change with each release.

Random: Why hasn’t “Orange Is The New Black” won anything yet?

This brew poured with a one finger thick, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear mahogany color with light carbonation visible throughout. The nose was light for style with a little spice, specifically some cinnamon and then some malt but not much else to it. The taste had more flavor to it. I got some caramel malt with a touch of cinnamon. The nutmeg was not as present. There was also a touch of hazelnut and cashew. The booze was well-integrated into the brew. There really wasn’t much else to this beer. It went down easily, but it was nothing amazing. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. It had a quick, nutty finish to it. Despite being from a brewery that I really enjoy, this beer wasn’t as great as I expected. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale

This is yet another beer that Kate picked up for me that I had on the first day of spring. Of course, I have a winter warmer when it is spring, but it looks like we have a little bit left of winter. I’ve only had a few brews from these guys, but so far they’ve been pretty good. Let’s see how this one goes.
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ABV: 6.9%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Warmth. Our Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is a hand-crafted ‘winter warmer’ with a deep amber hue and a rich, malty mouthfeel. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tickle the senses while the smooth, creamy finish will lift your spirits; a perfect beer to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.”

Random: My cat has been asleep on a barstool for the past 3 hours.

This brew poured with a half a finger of light, tan head that dissipated quickly and left a hint of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a cloudy, dark mahogany color with lots of visible sediment throughout the beer. There was also moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose has alcohol, caramel and bready malt coupled with some holiday spice. The taste was very spicy with figs and malt present but in the background. Maple syrup came through as well. The body was thick with high carbonation on the tongue. This was only an alright beer. The spice needs to be dialed down a little bit to be more enjoyable. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Cisco Winter Shredder

Another Katie pick. Speaking of winter shredding, we took Liz sledding yesterday. I haven’t done the whole sledding thing in awhile, but I was going down face first and getting pretty good speed and distance. We really haven’t had good sledding snow storms lately, but this one was perfect. Anyways, back to the brew.

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ABV: 6%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: The brewery has no information about this brew on the website, so I’m going to take a wild guess and say this is their winter seasonal. I mean, the whole snowman on a board kinda gives it away.

Random: Why can’t some breweries update their website? I’ve continually had this problem with Cisco. I’ve also seen more of their beers available in Jersey, so maybe they can’t update because they’re increasing output. Whatever. It’s still annoying.

This one poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. No lacing on this one, but a slight crown on top. The body was a clear, dark chestnut color with light carbonation visible throughout. The nose was odd, especially for the style. I got light spice, maple and this weird burnt note that I couldn’t place. So far, I’m not impressed. The taste was even more odd than the nose. I got burnt raisins with a medicinal tine and burnt bread. The spice that was in the nose was basically invisible in the taste, and it would have been welcomed given all the other off flavors. The body was thick with light carbonation. The finish was long and medicinal. I usually enjoy brews from Cisco, but this wasn’t one of them.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0