West Sixth Christmas Ale Returns Nov. 17

W6 Christmas 2014It’s ba-aack. This just in from West Sixth Brewing:

Today, we’re excited to announce the return of one of our fan favorites: the West Sixth Christmas Ale!

Last year, we launched this in very limited quantities, and it was a wild success! We sold out of almost all of the beer in just 24 hours.

This year, we’ve been planning further ahead, so we’ve been able to make a bit more of it – but based on last year, we have no idea how long it will last!

We’re going to release the Christmas Ale on draft and in 6-packs on Monday November 17th at 4pm in the taproom. It will also be available at retailers around the state and in Cincinnati.

We’ll have special giveaways for our launch, so you aren’t going to want to miss it!

For those who didn’t get a chance to try it last year, the West Sixth Christmas Ale is a spiced ale with aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg with a sturdy malt backbone that will hold up to the chilliest of nights.

It’s a higher gravity beer weighing in at 9% ABV. This is our slightly darker take on a holiday beer – perfect for evenings by the fire.

Come on down, and help us kick off the holiday season right!  

See you on November 17th –
Ben, Brady, Joe and Robin
Your friends from West Sixth

Shiner Holiday Cheer’s Fruity Character Surprises

shiner holiday cheer - beer

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth T.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say those dreaded words: “I don’t like dark beer.”

My response is always the same: “’Dark’ is not a beer style.”

But if someone has made up their mind that they don’t like dark beer, they aren’t going to budge. For those people, I would like to invite them to close their eyes and try a mouthful of Shiner Holiday Cheer 2013. I drank it without knowing what to expect – it’s a Christmas beer, so it’s going to be big, malty and spicy, right?

Wrong.

Holiday Cheer, brewed by Spoetzl Brewery, is a Dunkelweizen, made with peaches, pecans and caramelized malts. So, yes, it pours a dark brown with a red hue, but it’s not an Imperial Stout or a Black IPA. Not by a long shot.

Rather, it’s crisp, light and fruity. It features malted barley and wheat, and carbonated using a traditional German process called Kräusening, so while it’s technically dark based on an eye test, it’s anything but “dark” on the palate.

My first surprise came when I got a whiff of it. Whoa. It was all peaches, and the nose was natural and subtle, not overblown like some fruit-flavored Leinenkugel brew. The flavor is even sneakier – I expected it to be sweet, but instead it was tangy, with a bright mouthfeel. What sticks on the palate after a few sips is the natural peach flavor that you will first experience on the nose.

At 5.4 percent ABV,  it’s a beer you can sit down with and enjoy in relative quantity.

One complaint I had about Holiday Cheer is that there is a distinct lack of malt quality, both in the flavor and in the body. Where did those caramelized malts go? I expected at least a semblance of winter style, but this beer drinks like a summer shandy.

There is also almost no trace of hop bitterness, despite a 22 IBU rating. Yes, that’s low, but it’s enough that there should be a presence. I sure couldn’t detect it. No, this is decidedly a light beer in dark clothing.

Of course, there still remains the problem that the guy you know who will only drink Bud Light is going to recoil in horror if you place one before him. Calm him; gently tell him to fear not, because Shiner Holiday Cheer comes in peace.

And if the visual darkness of this well balanced beer still scares him? Well, that’s more Holiday Cheer for you.

This post was originally published by The Alcohol Professor.

NABC’s Naughty Claus Makes the Wish List

NaughtyClaus-710x1065Ah, Christmas: Good tidings, sleigh bells, reckless consumer spending and seasonal beers. To the surprise of no one involved, many of us prefer the latter. For those folks, there is New Albanian Brewing Company‘s Naughty Claus, rolled out last week around Louisville.

I made the drive to NABC’s Public House to enjoy a pint and some breadsticks with my girlfriend this past weekend, and I have to say that Dave Pierce and his brewing team over at New Albanian did it up right.

To be bluntly honest, I’m actually not usually a fan of Christmas beers — I find that too often breweries overdo the spices in order to make the beer more … well, Christmasy, if you will. The same goes for a lot of the pumpkin beers I’ve had. When it stops tasting like beer that is made with pumpkin and starts tasting like liquid pumpkin pie, that’s when they’ve lost me.

louisville beer - naughty clausNaughty Claus is not one of those over-the-top brews; it is imminently drinkable, like a solid, mild pale ale that just happens to have that something extra to it. Even the tagline spells it out, calling the beer a “seasonal ale with spices.” So, while the medium body, slightly sweet malts and mild hop character (it’s only 12 IBU) take the lead here, you still get a sense of the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel within.

I was fond of the interestingly sharp finish that comes from the spices, but for the most part this is, again, just a really solid, easy-drinking ale with a kick. I could easily see this one going well with your Christmas dinner. Or, hell, your Thanksgiving turkey in a couple of days. Or by itself. (Just be careful, because while it goes down like a session beer, it packes 8.0 percent ABV.)

Until next time, happy holidays and drink locally. Especially the beer.

West Sixth Christmas Ale in Cans Debuts Dec. 2

louisville beer - west sixthWest Sixth Brewing Company will release its West Sixth Christmas Ale on Dec. 2, and the canning begins tomorrow. Yep, Christmas Ale in cans. I do love West Sixth.

Anyway, here’s the announcement, which speaks for itself:

We’ve got some exciting news today, and we wanted you to be the first to know: We’re releasing our first ever seasonal beer in a can – the West Sixth Christmas Ale!

This beer is a dark spiced ale with the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Weighing it a 9% ABV, it has a nice backbone that will hold up to the chilliest of nights.  This is our slightly darker taste on a holiday beer, and will be perfect for evenings by the fire!

We’re canning the beer tomorrow, and will be releasing the beer at 3pm on December 2nd at the taproom (the Monday after Thanksgiving).  It will also be available in limited quantities at retailers throughout Kentucky.  We’re only going to make 500-600 total cases of this beer, so we expect it to sell out quickly!  It will also be available on draft in the taproom starting that day.

This is our first time ever doing a seasonal in cans — it’s also the first Christmas Ale canned and distributed in Kentucky.  Because of the challenges with doing small runs of cans, we’ve had to figure out a different sort of process to label the cans and can the beer.  It’s been a fun adventure and we can’t wait to share the results with you.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more details.

Cheers!
-Ben, Brady, Joe and Robin
Your friends at West Sixth