Winter Solstice 2015 is here. I consider this my favorite winter holiday because this is the holiday that existed before religions and corporations monetized all merry making. Speaking of money, I read today that the Breckenridge Brewery is being bought by A-B InBev, so there famous Scotch ale style Christmas Ale will soon be a part of their vast portfolio, as if the acquisition of SAB Miller and all their other brewery purchases is not enough. But of course it is not. Capitalism has its own twisted logic, which was aptly explained by the late, famous show trial lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, who said: “We live by the golden rule. Those with the gold rule.”
But the creation of new beer continues, despite these business concerns. What better day than this, to review Anderson Valley Brewing Company Winter Solstice
It is a pleasure to see the return of this venerable Holiday ale, now given given additional freshness by being packaged in a can. This subtle wassail, with its vanilla note, is a beautiful reminder that recipes that are truly outstanding are enjoyed as an annual celebration, over several decades. Like its twin seasonal counterpart Summer Solstice, this is unmistakable Boonville beer.
Redhook Brewery who now have some production work performed in Memphis, Tennessee, have released their 31st edition of Winterhook
a winter ale with a recipe that changes year to year. This year’s #31 uses rye malt in the kettle, giving this a spicy departure from the more chocolatey versions of years past. The ale is festively good with plenty of malt and hops support.
Another winter edition that has hop heads in mind is New Belgium Accumulation White India Pale Ale where Mosaic and Amarillo hops perform their citrus magic. Although this is not exactly my choice for winter beer, this a very well made beer, designed for hop-forward drinkers seeking out aromatic bitterness.
For those who really want to go a-wassailing there is 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale, from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company of Akron, Ohio
like Great Lakes and Anchor’s, this wassail is very well made. Very drinkable, with a (strange as it seems) very approachable complexity. An 8.3 % production that easily will enhance the merry making.
Locally, Rhinegeist has produced a collaborative golden stout with the Three Weavers Brewery of California and this PENGUIN is a very fine example of artisan creativity. My only complaints are I wish it was less expensive, and it would come in a six pack of 12 ounce bottles