With two weeks left in December, here is the final installment on my look at the most recent holiday brew sampler from the folks at Saranac. It’s been a lot of fun, Avid Reader, but the time has come to wrap this one up and then get back to the business of trying the other beers I have sitting around. Without further ado we have the lagers all in one fell swoop.
Season’s Best Nut Brown Lager – each year a different brew is selected for the Season’s Best tag and it just so happened to be the nut brown this year. I’ve had a few varieties of nut brown within the last few months and this one was very strong up front and had a good smooth finish that was very impressive. Nut brown ales have that characteristic malt body and this one was a good dark brown color just waiting to be tasted.
Black Bear Bock – it took me a while to enjoy bock beers and this one reinforced the heavy malted body. Brewed with traditional German malts, the interesting piece here is that the beer was cold fermented and then it was sent through to be lagered, which seems to give it a smooth aftertaste. I can’t tell the difference between cold and room temperature fermenting, but I thought it was a cool fact to share.
Chocolate Lager – when I’ve talked about chocolate beers before, I always point out that the chocolate refers to the color of the malt they brew with. The malt is very dark so it has a chocolate color; however, this beer is brewed with cacao seeds that have been roasted and added in with the hop and malt mix. It seems to bring out a richer malted body with a good aftertaste to follow. This didn’t have the darkest body I have seen in many chocolate beers but it was perfect for a cold December evening.
Well there you have it and it only took me three weeks. I could have reviewed all of those beers at once but would that have been any fun? OK, maybe a little bit of fun. I would like to thank the folks at Saranac for sending the brews, and if you happen to come across this sampler sitting somewhere in a grocery case, well bring it home and spread the good cheer. Happy holidays!