One day while shopping for Christmas presents, I found a little treasure waiting on the shelf for me. A Bristol Christmas Ale. I don’t remember which shopping trip this came from, but I buried it in the back of the beer fridge behind all of the IPA style Christmas ales I had.
When it sprung up, I was pleasantly surprised, but why did I only get one?
Bristol, a Colorado Springs brewery since 1994, has been a rare guest in my beer fridge... for no good reason at all. I love their beer, I order it on occasion and it’s usually available. I don’t know why I don’t buy it.
I am going to do something I usually wouldn’t, and that is bludgeon you with raw thoughts. I didn’t particularly like this beer, so I’m just going to show you what I was thinking at the time.
Nice dark pour with a caramel colored head. While photographing, I see that it’s a super dark amber color instead of the typical black stout color.
Very light spice nose. Initially, I smell nutmeg, which of course leads me to say cinnamon, but it’s more like ginger and rum. Smells more like a cookie than beer.
Light body is almost crisp very dry. That’s odd... I expected SYRUP! At 5.6% I’d almost like to take a gravity reading to see how dry it really is!
The rum smell is from an obvious molasses background upon which the nutmeg and ginger build. I know that there is some malt in there somewhere... it’s like the flour in a cookie. You know it’s there, but can’t taste it.
As the beer warms up a touch, there is a very light hop bitterness just as it passes the back of the throat.
While I didn’t love this beer, it was refreshing and the spices were reminiscent of my favorite cookie. The whole thing was just too laid back for me. I needed more body, a richer flavor and more of the spices. I certainly drank the whole thing, and I really wish I had another to keep for a year.
I am glad I tried it, and I’ll get two next year, but not much more than that!