Season 2, Episode 5: What’s a Christmas without Craft Beer? The “I Love Beer” Show was LIVE on December 11th, 2014 at Jimmy and Myrna’s Cantina, somewhere deep in the heart of Las Vegas to showcase some Christmas brews you should be enjoying this holiday season. The craft beer lineup consisted of Yellow Snow IPA from Rogue Brewing, a number of Christmas themed beer selections from Ridgeway Brewing in England, and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale from Brouwerij Brewery in Belgium. Leave these beers in your house and Santa will be very happy with you!
But one we knew we had to go with first was the Yellow Snow IPA from Rogue Brewing. Unlike real yellow snow, this is something you truly need to taste! Rogue makes this brew from a mixture of 8 ingredients: CaraFoam, Melanoidin, 2-Row & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Amarillo Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast. It makes for a great American IPA that is actually somewhat sessionable at 6.5% alcohol. As most of our audience is aware, we are huge fans of the Rogue Brewing Nation, right from our initial exposure to them with their “Dead Guy Ale”, and this particular IPA is just what we’d expect from them: a delicious craft beer with the right touch of Hops! Put it under the tree for a great craft beer gift item!
Then we came across Ridgeway Brewing, a relatively unknown (at least to us) brewery located in Oxfordshire, England. As we mentioned on the show, there’s a lot of breweries that put out Christmas themed beers for the holidays, but quite frankly, many times it’s just a commercialized gimmick and brewers really don’t care how they actually taste. Ridgeway Brewing is quite the opposite! They have a variety of craft beers especially brewed for the holiday season and we struck gold on three of them because the ones we tried on the show definitely exceeded expectations! Really! No exaggeration – these were great!
We started with their “Very Bad Elf”, an English Pale Ale coming in at 7.50% alcohol. This particular craft beer poured a light orange color with some nice lacing. Then we noticed a “wow” factor from the smell of spices such as pepper, pear, and apple scents. The taste starts out strong with dark fruits like plum and apple mixing with the pepper and vanilla flavors very nicely at the end, and you definitely don’t know you’re drinking that kind of alcohol content because of its smoothness. We immediately knew we had a winner in Ridgeway Brewing – especially for a holiday brew!
Moving on, we went to Ridgeway’s Seriously Bad Elf, a wheat craft beer and their version of a classic Belgian tripel. At 9% alcohol, it poured a thin, crystal clear white head with a gold appearance. We immediately sensed a sweet toffee aroma reminiscent of sweet bread, whiskey, butter, and slight nuttiness. The taste on the mouth was citrus peel, toffee, wheat, and a pine-like bitterness that gave way to a heavy and almost syrupy mouthfeel. Well, done, Ridgeway… well done! Perhaps the show favorite!
We finished the tribute to Ridgeway with their “Lump of Coal“, an easy drinking, 8% alcohol strong English stout. It was surprisingly smooth for this type of brew and alcohol level. We tasted bitter, chocolate, coffee, and hints of liquorice with a light tan head of dissipating foam that dies down to a thin layer with nice lacing. The smell of chocolate hit us right away and also noted a bit of vanilla and dark cherries. Stout lovers take note: With “Lump of Coal”, Ridgeway gave us a great take on an export stout – this is the lump of coal you WANT Santa to leave you as a stocking stuffer, no doubt!
Of course we had to finish the show with a selection from another one of our trappist favorites, Brouwerij Brewing in Belgium, makers of St. Bernardus. We featured many of their selections on previous shows and everyone knows how good their witbier, dubbels, tripels, and quads are (especially the Abt 12), so it wasn’t a surprise when we broke open the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and found it to be outstanding! Even Dameron, who is definitely NOT an Abbey Ale / Trappist drinker, enjoyed this 10% alcohol quad that will really put you in the Christmas spirit! If you like Belgians, the Christmas Ale really delivers with a full body taste, dark-fruit notes, perfect carbonation, and just enough foam to bring to you perhaps the lightest, easiest drinking quad you’ll ever run across. This one is dangerously good! If Santa drinks too much of this, he won’t be making his rounds this year, that’s for sure!
And so ends another great craft beer year. Once again, the “I Love Beer” Show will be coming at you with more shows from more locations and with more episodes in 2015 to continue our mandate of bringing you the best craft beers that you probably wouldn’t hear of on your own. Are you a fan on Facebook yet? Got a craft beer suggestion? Please let us know! Want to be a guest on a show to promote your business or whatever you’re doing? You’re on! Got a great venue like this show’s Cantina? Let’s do a show at your location! Got a smartphone? Text BEERSHOW to 95577 for showtimes and information.
We’ve got big plans for 2015, and we want you all to be a part of it! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from everyone at the “I Love Beer” Show and the “Craft Beer Mob“!!!