Sweetwater Festive Ale

Sweetwater has been kind of all over the place. They haven't had any real stinkers, but their best standout... actually, it was really good. What the hell am I thinking? My brother wouldn't steer me wrong (much like he wouldn't disappoint me by giving me bottles that didn't have antlers at X-mas).

So brown that it has turned black, the beer has a head with an off-white hue made from many tiny bubbles and a few big ones. It attempts to make some lacing on the sides of the glass, but it's failing pretty miserably. The aroma is smoky chocolate with a mocha bend. The spices are light and barely perceptible.

First sip is a lot heavier with the coffee than the aroma let me know. The chocolate is dark and bitter, and it intermingles with the coffee and smoked oats. I don't know where the spices are, but I might have been taken off-guard by the coffee. I'm not a coffee fan; this isn't enough to ruin the beer, but it's not welcome.

Tip-in is sweet and vanilla with the dark chocolate swarming underneath and a carbonation sizzle marching its way across the mouth. The middle is delightfully not filled with coffee - instead, there is coffee at the outskirts while the chocolate, dark fruits, earth, and a lingering bitterness swirl around the middle of the mouth. The finish is where the coffee comes out, and it's not that bad with the chocolate mixed into it. The trail off is bitter and smoky.

Bottom Line: It's got a lot going for it, and I may go for another.

3.0/5

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