25 Beers of Advent Details

This page has all the details about the 25 Beers of Advent as chosen by HTBN for 2013. The HTBN review is based on a ♥♥♥♥♥ rating system. A ♥♥♥ rating means it is a good beer – give it a try. More ♥’s means I liked it a lot. Less ♥’s means I liked it not as much.

December 1-7

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12/1Old Fezziwig from Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston MA. –
ABV 5.9% –  IBU 25 – RB 82 – BA 85 – Untappd 3.52

Spicy & bold, this festive ale is bursting with the flavors of the season.  With a full body and spice it’ll help those long winter nights pass more quickly.  The rich malt character creates notes of sweet toffee, caramel, & roasty chocolate while classic holiday spices like cinnamon, ginger and orange peel dance on the tongue bringing with them the celebratory spirit of the season.

HTBN Review – I agree with the ratings. It is a good winter ale, smooth and pleasant, but it didn’t really warm me up much. The advertised flavors are there, but not very pronounced. It is definitely malty and low in hop character throughout (which I like). ♥♥♥

12/2Old Jubilation Ale from Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, CO. –
ABV 8.3% – 45 IBU – RB 96 – BA 87 – Untappd 3.64.

Our winter strong ale has a gorgeous mahogany hue, a hint of hazelnuts, and a finish reminiscent of mocha and toffee. No spices, just a perfect blend of five specialty malts. Cellarable for 2 years.

HTBN Review – I heartily recommend getting a six-pack (or more) of this wonderful winter warmer. If beer were candy, this would be it. I drank it both chilled and let it warm up. Lots of toffee and caramel flavor. In fact, I am going to get more of this on the next visit to the bottle shop. ♥♥♥♥♥

12/3Bifrost from Elysian Brewing Company, Seattle, WA. –
7.5% ABV – 58 IBU – RB 90 – BA 84 – Untappd 3.57.

The rainbow bridge made from fire, air and water, used by the gods to travel from the world tree, Yggdrasil, to the heavens. Asgard. Brewed with Pale malt and small amounts of Munich and Crystal malts. Bittered with Centennial, finished with Amarillo and Styrian Goldings hops. Strong, hoppy, and smooth.

HTBN Review – This is a winter ale for you hop heads. It is a good tasting brew, but not my idea of a winter warmer. But it takes all kinds. ♥♥♥

12/4Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO –
ABV 7.8% – IBU 38 – RB 88 – BA 84 – Untappd 3.47

Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s special offering for the holiday season. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the “spiciness” of freshly harvested “wet” Chinook hops.

HTBN Review – Note – Boulevard Brewing was sold to Duvel Moortgat USA in October(a Belgian beverage concern that also owns NY Brewery Ommegang). Final sale to close by the end of the year. I found this brew to be very nice, but not something I would seek out again. It lives up to its description having a strong molasses laced malt backbone that finishes more on the hoppy side. It’s a sneaky one. Does not appear to have much an alcoholic bite, but after just a 12 oz bottle it was sleepy time for this old blogger. Glad I had it at home. ♥♥♥

12/5 Snow Cap from Pyramid Ales, Seattle, WA (and elsewhere)
7.0% ABV – 47 IBU – RB 83 – BA 80 – Untappd 3.29

Deep mahogany in color, our full-bodied winter warmer is brewed in the spirit of British winter ales. Crafted with a flurry of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, and generously hopped, it delivers a smooth finish that makes this beer the perfect cold weather companion.

HTBN Review – Either someone within what is now the Pyramid multi-site brewing conglomerate changed the recipe for this winter warmer, or my memory of it from previous years has blurred. It seems less malty and much more hoppy now. That said, I am not commenting on the Snow Cap you used to be able to get, but the one that is out there now. On its own merits, it is a pleasant brew with a definite hoppy finish, interestingly spiced and moderately potent. The caramel notes it advertises are in indeed just a flurry. ♥♥♥

12/6 – Mistletoe Bliss from Lazy Boy Brewing, Seattle WA –
ABV 7.5% – IBU 26 – RB 64 – BA 82 – Untappd 3.5

A new brown ale on steroids! Stock up now to warm those cold winter nights.

HTBN Review – Nice darkish beer with subtle berry and spice flavors. ♥♥♥

12/7Brrr from Widmer Brewing, Portland, OR –
ABV 7.2% – IBU 50 – RB 90 – BA 86 – Untappd 3.43

Give the gift of beer! More specifically, Brrr! The Widmer Brothers have handcrafted a special ale for the holiday season: a generous red ale. Not quite excessively hopped, with candy sweetness and a velvety finish. Perfect for celebrations. Prost!

HTBN Review – It’s hoppy, but the it is supposed to be. If you are into hops this is a great winter warmer. Add it to your table at holiday meals. ♥♥♥♥

December 8-14

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12/8Auld Acquaintance from Pike Brewing, Seattle, WA
ABV 5.0% – IBU 32 – RB 71 – BA 83 – Untappd 3.45

Festive & flavorful with delicious hints of orange peel, coriander, cinnamon & nutmeg.

HTBN Review – Very pleasant change from the previous two entries. This is a very mild beer with good holiday flavors. Nice to have with holiday breads and cookies. Well balanced. No one thing jumps out. You could have another.

12/9Snow Drift Vanilla Porter from Leinenkugel Brewing, Chippewa Falls, WI. –
ABV 6.0% – IBU 16 – RB 52 – BA 77 – Untappd 3.5

Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is a robust and velvety addition to Leinenkugel’s seasonal selection. This porter-style beer is aged on real vanilla to reveal rich layers of caramel, coffee and chocolate that is ideal for the season.

HTBN Review – It’s your normal vanilla porter if you are into them as a year-round beverage. But it is a special holiday seasonal from Leinenkugel. Petty good, although I was expecting something a little more festive.

121/0 – Santa’s Private Reserve from Rogue Ales, Newport, OR
ABV 6.0%, IBU 65, RB 92, BA 85, Untappd 3.59

A double-hopped Red, reddish in color, with a roasty, malty flavor and a hoppy spruce finish.

HTBN Review – Very nice winter ale from Rogue. Full of flavor and hoppiness is not offensive.

12/11 – Permafrost Winter Ale from Burnside Brewing, Portland, OR

ABV 8.3% – IBU 77.4 – RB  N/R – BA N/R – Untappd 3.7

Burnside Brewing Co.’s first winter elixir. It’s a big strong ale brewed with 7 different malts and copious amounts of Meridian and Amarillo hops pillowed in the middle to give this warming brew a chewy complex malt body and a unique fruity juicy hoppiness throughout.

HTBN Review – Very hoppy but has a lot of body. Enjoyable.

12/12 – Wee Heavy Winter Ale from Hales Ales, Seattle, WA (and Poulsbo).

ABV 7.2% – IBU 24 – RB 90 – BA 83 – Untappd 3.47

In December 1985 Hale’s Wee Heavy became the Northwest’s first designated “seasonal” ale. It is an award-winning strong ale that is a perfect match for the cold weather months. Mahogany colored and rich tasting, with an intriguing hop profile.

HTBN Review – Ah yes. A good Scottish Ale with a kick. ♥♥♥♥

12/13 – Steep & Deep from Harmon Brewing, Tacoma, WA

ABV 7.4% – IBU 70 – RB None – BA None – Untappd 3.5

Five different malted barleys combined with 4 different hop varieties to create this winter warmer ale. Flavors and aromas of bitter chocolate and hops come through to create a smooth and satisfying medium to full bodied Winter ale. Steep and deep finishes crisp, clean, and dry just like the Cool mountain air.

HTBN Review – Dark and full of flavor. This is a sit-by-the-fire beer that will definitely relax even the most stressful of days.♥♥♥

12/14 – Papa Noel from Alameda Brewing, Portland, OR

ABV 7.2% – IBU 40 – RB 85 – BA 85 – Untappd 3.57

This olde ale is the perfect antidote to the constant holiday activity. It harkens back to simpler days when the tavern was a hub for swapping tales and information. With a high alcoholic content, 7.2%, this is a great winter warmer.

HTBN Review – It’s got a little hoppy citrus after it settles in your mouth, but the primary  essence is malt, almost molasses, but not sweet. The aroma gives not hint to me as to what this beer was going to taste like. If I saw it on a tap somewhere, I’d order a pint. And then find a quiet place near a fireplace to sip it. ♥♥♥♥

December 15-21

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12/15 -10° Below from Scuttlebutt Brewing, Everett, WA

ABV 7.4% – IBU 22 – RB 75 – BA 80 – Untappd 3.42

 Medium body with rich chocolate finish

HTBN Review – Good. Really good. Poured first 11 ounces cold and it was nice. Poured the second 11 ounces, was warmer and even better. I liked this beer a lot better than the reviewers did. Shows to go ya. I really like Dunkelweiss beers so I got a head start on liking this one. ♥♥♥

12/16 – Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, CA

ABV 6.8% – IBU 65 – RB 98 – BA 93 – Untappd 3.89

First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.

HTBN Review – Whoa doggies – this is hoppy. Buy it if you like it that way. Don’t if you don’t. I would not get another and I think the reviewers are all on crack – or hops, or something. ♥♥

12/17 – Sleighr from Ninkasi Brewing, Eugene, OR

ABV 7.2% – IBU 50 – RB 85 – BA 85 – Untappd 3.69

A dark double alt, malty, nourishing and delicious, it’s sure to keep the cold weather at bay.

HTBN Review – Hmmm the description from the brewery guys made me think this was going to be less hoppy than the 50 IBUs it is said to have. But then “nourishing” is a stretch of the imagination too. It is dark, but it is hoppy. Delicious? Well, drinkable anyway. ♥♥

12/18 – Bonfire Ale – Winter Warner from Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA

ABV 6.0% – IBU 40 – RB Not Rated – BA Not Rated – Untappd 3.6

Bonfire Ale steals from the winter fires its gift of dark barley and gentle hops to provide you, beer drinker, with this delightful winter treat.

HTBN Review – Still thinking about this one. This is a different offering than the normal Fremont winter offering – Abominable Ale. That’s why I grabbed it. Seems to be a bit higher in IBU than 40 to me. Not enough roasty-toasty for me to like it as a winter warmer. ♥♥

12/19 – Vinter Varmer from Laurelwood Brewing, Portland, OR

ABV 6.4 % – IBU 49 – RB 90 – BA 88 – Untappd 3.5

HTBN Review – The flavor on this one was kind of weak for a warmer. Do not understand the ratings on this. Pretty average I would say. ♥♥

12/20 – Ice Breaker (Winterfish Seasonal Ale) – Fish Brewing Company, Olympia, WA

ABV 7.5% – IBU 70 – RB no rating – BA no rating

HTBN Rating – Umm – if you like a higher alcohol hop bomb, this is the one for you. Not me. ♥♥

12/21 – Jubelale – Deschutes Brewing, Bend OR

ABV 6.7% – IBU ?? – RB 96 – BA 89 – Untappd 3.64

A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it’s like Yule fire and family.

HTBN Rating – Delicious Winter Warmer. Fine malt body with hop accent. ♥♥♥