Abita Christmas Ale

It's that time year again. My brother furnished me with a few of these reindeer–inspired beers. I think this year they are all some kind of Christmas ale or winter warmer, but I wound up labeling this here as a brown ale, as that's what their website says. They cover their bets and also call it a dark ale, so they're getting two labels. This particular beer sparked my interest, as Abita has not really inspired me in the past, but this is just the kind of niche that might be their breakout hit.

Well, they call this a brown ale, but it has more of a mahogany look to it. The head is thick with this one, and it sticks around for a while. Even after it is left to settle, the foam is like a sponge sitting on top; I'm kinda digging it. It's got a sweet, bready malt aroma with maybe some brown sugar and a hint of the mahogany that is coloring it. I can tell you it certainly smells intriguing.

First sip is a little rough. These Christmas ales tend to have a rather stoic personality, and this one's no different. I didn't really expect this to be approachable right off the bat, and it seems to have quite the dour essence about it coming straight for me. The sweetness of the malt is almost completely lost, and a dryness from the wood is coming out. This is vaguely reminding me why I don't normally drink brown ales. But I gulp all kinds of ales, and that's what I'm gonna do here.

Tip-in is light carbonation burn with molasses and brown sugar being seared on a pan, but there is none of the sweetness that you would typically expect with those two flavors. The middle opens up into a very nice beverage with the bread, molasses, and brown sugar combining with what at first might seem to be a little too much carbonation, but it seems to add a spiciness to the beer itself, assuming I'm not just tasting the spices in the beer. The finish is dry, as the yeast asserts itself a little bit over the other flavors, and it seems to enhance the bread as it does so.

Bottom Line: It seems like this is a good heavy beer for a cold night of relaxation.

3.0/5

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