A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.
Christmas is even closer upon us in this week’s Vas Review. If you haven’t gotten that perfect gift for someone yet, what are you waiting for? Seriously, you are dropping the ball here big time. It’s a good thing you’ve come to me for help. In this week’s Vas Review, I give you two more options for that perfect gift…for me.
Samuel Adams – Merry Maker
Style: Imperial Stout / Spice, Herb, Vegetable Beer.
Samuel Adams, Boston Beer. Call it what you want, anyone who has ever tried a craft beer knows the name and has tried at least one of their beers. If you look beyond their famous Lager, you’ll see that Boston Beer is pushing the boundaries and churning out some incredibly inventive beer. One of those beers is Merry Maker, a self described Gingerbread Stout. If that doesn’t sound delicious to you, then there is no hope.
Strap in tight and hold onto the edge of that sled, this is going to be a sleigh ride. Merry Maker is black and opaque with a thick, unrelenting deep cinnamon-colored head. The aroma is a gingerbread house. I just hope the homeowner isn’t home for the next part.
Merry Maker’s taste takes you to another place. The deep roasted malts paired off with the spices remind of that after dinner coffee with dessert on Christmas night. Nutmeg and clove are particularly strong with cinnamon coming into play towards the end. Slightly bitter with a thick but not quite chewy mouthfeel make this one a sipper. It is a little fruity at times too with a deep, dark cherry covered in chocolate.
I imagine Merry Maker in only one way, the delicious water from a moat defense system surrounding the house of a very reserved gingerbread man and his wife. Do you think the alligators in that moat like beer?
Bridgeport – Ebenezer Ale
Style: Winter Warmer
Portland, Oregon. A location of early innovation in the Craft Beer movement and often called “Beervana.” With over 50 breweries within the city limits (and over 70 in the metro area), its not hard to understand why it has earned that nickname. 30 years ago, this wasn’t the case. Bridgeport Brewing sought to change that when in 1984 it became Oregon’s very first craft brewer.
Bridgeport’s Ebenezer Ale pours out like a wrapped Christmas present, about to get destroyed and enjoyed by me. Visually speaking though, it is an opaque brown showcasing deep red highlights.
The aroma is a malt bomb. Down with the hops this holiday season. If you put this beer next to a piece of toast with peanut butter and dark fruity jam on it, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. (Unless you open your eyes, which I suggest you do, if you’re eating toast.)
The first sip leads immediately to another. The warm and welcoming lightly toasted bread with fig jam is paired off with a juicy yet slightly bitter plum. The malt flavors drop down the chimney loud and proud letting us know that they do exist. With all of this commotion going on inside of our mouths, you would think that this beer would be just a tad overly sweet. That is certainly not the case as a moderate dryness has me believing and wanting to share this holiday joy with the world! Or maybe just five other people.
You there! What day is it?! Why…it is Christmas morning Mr. Scrooge. Christmas?!?! Shoot. I should have went and bought Ebenezer Ale yesterday. Forget the Christmas goose kid, I have to go to the liquor store quickly before they close early.
Next week in the Vas Review: Our final installment of Holiday and Winter beers!
Steve Pasko is a Certified Cicerone® and the Beer Content Writer for Vas Foremost. Follow him on Twitter or Untappd at Gardemybiere. Email him at Gardemybiere@gmail.com or Steve@vasforemost.com