Editor’s Note: Today is day three in our Twelve Days of Christmas series on Pints and Steins – where we’ll be letting you know about a winter beer every day between now and Christmas Eve.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love brought to me: Wreck The Halls for under my tree!
Today, we take a look at one of my favorite big breweries, Full Sail, out of Hood River, Oregon. The company’s annual holiday-time seasonal is called Wreck The Halls.
This holiday beer is a hybrid of an IPA and a winter warmer. Brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops, Wreck the Halls comes in at 6.5% ABV and 68 IBUs. It’s available, for the first time this year, in a 6-pack of 12 oz bottles and on draft at your local taphouse.
How does it taste?
Wreck the Halls pours a rich malty amber color and brings smells of cookies, raisins and dark wine. When you pour it, you get a frothy off white lacing. At first sip, this beer is super sweet and smells of a dry hopped IPA with a mild dry and somewhat sticky finish. When I taste this beer, I definitely pick up on the grapefruit-like citrus notes and to me, it’s too strong.
Should I buy it?
If you like super citrus-y IPAs, yes. But for me, I’m not a fan of Wreck the Halls this year – there’s just too much competition out there with winter beers and this one is so lackluster I don’t recommend it.
Editor’s note: This is the fifth in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
At Pints and Steins, we cover Full Sail Brewing on a regular basis as it’s a favorite brewery. One of Full Sail’s most popular beers is Full Sail Amber and it is well known for a reason: it was Oregon’s first amber ale.
How does it taste?
In yesterday’s review, we discussed Stormbreaker’s Mississippi Red. Full Sail’s Amber is similar in taste profile. When you first pour it, this amber is a deep orange/red-ish color that can be seen through. It’s pretty fizzy and bubbly, suggesting high amounts of carbonation.
Any amber or red ale is an interesting balance of hoppy sweetness and malt-earthy tones. Full Sail absolutely nails this balance with their amber. The cascade and Hood hops greet your tastebuds at first followed by a smooth malty aftertaste. Again, like Mississippi Red, Full Sail Amber has caramel notes that make it distinctive versus other brews in the category.
Should I buy it?
I’d recommend you buy a six pack, no doubt. This is a sharable beer that will appease any craft beer fan. Even if you’re a Coors Light or pilsner fan, try an amber ale as it’s not overly bitter and it is a great introduction to craft beer.
On the “The Early Show on Saturday Morning” on CBS recently, the program highlighted 5 beers. What is absolutely great is that all of the beers highlighted are from the great state of Oregon!
We have a reputation for being nuts about beer and it’s great to see some great Oregon brews put into the national spotlight. Which beers did they choose? They discussed 5 beers from 5 different breweries all around the state, stretching from Portland, to the coast, then all the way inland to Central Oregon (my favorite part of the state).
Here is an excerpt:
Widmer Hefeweizen: A great American version of a German wheat beer. It’s a little tangy, and very refreshing. A great summer beer. I’d pair it with grilled seafood, raw oysters, that sort of thing.
Full Sail Session Lager: The beer world divides its product into lagers and ales; it has to do with the type of yeast used and the brewing process. But an easy rule of thumb is that lagers are like white wine (lighter, crisper), and ales are like red wine (bigger, richer, more powerful). Full Sail makes a great, tasty lager, good with almost anything. Personally, I’d drink it with hot dogs off the grill, but it’s also a classic all-purpose beer: chicken, potato chips, pretzels, you name it.
Deschutes Green Lakes Ale: This is an ale, so it’s richer and darker than the Full Sail Session Lager. What’s especially cool is that it’s made from organic ingredients. Deschutes is based in Bend, Ore., but it has a brewpub in Portland, too. I’d drink this with a hamburger; for me, ales like this are ideal burger wines.
Bridgeport IPA: Another ale; this was a style invented by the British, called India Pale Ale. Hops, one of the ingredients of beer, act as a preservative, so the British made an especially hoppy brew to ship on the long voyage to India. Hops also add flavor-a kind of citrusy, piney, bitter note that’s very pronounced in IPAs. I think they’re great with fried foods — anything from fried shrimp to French fries — the bitterness kind of wakes up your mouth after all that rich fried coating.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale: This is a darker, more intense style of ale (technically, it’s a German style called a Maibock). It’s a bit higher in alcohol — 6.5 percent — with a toasty, malty character and real texture to it. This is my go-to for big, spicy foods: sausages on the grill, barbecued ribs, that kind of thing.
Kudos to these Oregon brewers for churning out great brew and getting some well-deserved recognition!