Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Breckenridge Christmas Ale

Sometimes I drink beers that are total head-scratchers, but I like them anyway. Case in point: Breckenridge Christmas Ale. It’s not really a traditional "Christmas beer" spiced seven ways to Sunday or even a winter warmer. It’s probably closer to an English Strong Ale, but that doesn’t seem quite right, either. It’s flavorful and pleasing even if I don’t get a lot of distinct character out of it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (776) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 25, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Beautiful cherry red hue, translucent, not much visible carbonation. Forms an average size, white, foamy head which doesn’t completely evaporate and does leave plenty of pretty lacing inside the glass.

Smell: Akin to British style pub ales, only stronger. A hint of fruit, but no spice.

Taste: I appreciate a unique palate, but if I can’t describe it then it’s a bit counter-productive. Though I’ve sampled a lot of beers in my time I still can’t accurately pinpoint the flavors in Breckenridge Christmas Ale. It’s slightly fruity with hints (and I emphasize HINTS) of red apple, cherry and raisin or fig. There’s a distinct bitterness through the middle that imparts a touch of astringency and finishes with a subtle (and I emphasize SUBTLE) confectionery sweetness of caramel.

Is this a tasty palate? To a point, yes. There’s certainly nothing off-putting about it, other than its overt lack of distinction. I’m genuinely surprised there’s no nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices present here (but conversely, I applaud them for not following convention). It’s enough to satisfy me, but it’s missing a definite "wow" factor. It’s a fine beer, but I can’t help but think more could be done with it.

Drinkability: While the palate may be a bit distracting, its delivery is not. The mouthfeel is a bit of the thicker, softer side, and the smooth finish makes it quite easy to drink. The aftertaste is a somewhat dry/somewhat sweet sensation, but mild and tolerable. Breckenridge Christmas Ale seems to have the weight its 7.4% ABV body would entail, but not the complexity of energy of something of that size.
 Grade: 7/10

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