Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Holiday Beer Can Spice Up the Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Holiday Beer Can Spice Up the Season

Article excerpt

*********** CORRECTION (12/5/97)

Because of a reporting error, the Strange Brew column in

yesterday's Taste section incorrectly stated that Williamsville

Brewery in Fernandina Beach had changed its name. It is still

Williamsville Brewery.

**********

The holidays are on us and we all know what that means: boring

Christmas parties and trying to assemble impossible gifts when

Tab B just doesn't fit in Slot Q and there's nothing you can do

about it.

But they're also the time for holiday beers. Usually, these

are spiced brews, different than anything else that shows up

during the year.

Naturally, the official Times-Union tasting panel (motto: I'll

bet we can make Tab B fit into Slot Q) had to taste a few.

So here's what we had:

Bert Grant's Fresh Hop Ale is a more like a late-fall

seasonal, using the fresh Cascade hop blossom from the Northwest.

It's a coppery colored ale, very smooth with a mild wheat-like

taste -- a fine beer.

Bert Grant's Winter Ale -- It's not as good as we'd hoped,

since Grant's does just about everything well. There's a strong

roasted flavor that pretty much dominates everything else.

First Coast Christmas Ale -- The former Williamsville

brewery in Fernandina Beach is now First Coast Brewery, a much

better name. Its Christmas beer is much lighter than most, with

vague hints of spice almost like a Belgian white. Not a strong

beer but very pleasant.

Breckinridge Christmas Ale -- A very malty, complex beer

with hints of butterscotch, almost like a Scotch ale. I liked it,

but others on the panel didn't. What do they know?

Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic -- Again, we disagreed. I think

it's a nice fruity beer with just a touch of tartness. Others

thought it was Kool-Aid. I'm right, they're wrong.

Sam Adams Winter Lager -- We all liked this. It's a fairly

dark and malty beer, with a little spice and some roasted flavor. …

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