Monday, July 7, 2014

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Beer:   Christmas Ale (GCA)

Brewery:  Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Date: February 28th, 2014

Style: Winter Warmer

ABV:  7.5% 

I've had a lot of very good beers from Great Lakes this year, and their 2013 Christmas Ale certainly continued that trend.  Christmas beers and winter warmers tend to be a bit of a mixed bag, as one can only do cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves so many ways.  GCA was a welcome break from that standard, the only disappointing part of which was the bottle art (above), which looked more like a craft store circular than a fine representative of the style.

First Impression:
Dark, golden brown with a thin, white head which rapidly dissipated.

Cinnamon predominates, but there also an underlying fruitiness, and sweetness, likely from the honey mentioned on the label. 

Cinnamon and ginger, with a pleasant fruit (berry?) taste in the background.  There's also a great honey/caramel sweetness that makes this go down very easily.  Surprising amount of maltiness which balances the sweet and spice flavors. 

On the Palate: 
Rich, and smooth, more so that many Christmas ales.

Why You'll like It:
If you enjoy winter warmers but are looking for something with a more complex and varied palette of flavors, I'd highly recommend it.  Not overwhelmingly sweet, but about as well balanced a beer of this style as I've had.

In Closing...: 
GCA's yearly release is heralded with as much fanfare in Cleveland as Bourbon County Stout's is in the Chicago area.  Based on my experience, I'm beginning to understand why.

Rating (Out of 5):

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