2015 Advent Beer Calendar: Festeroo by Hop Valley Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 14, 2015

Editor’s note: This is the sixteenth beer 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.

There are some fantastic breweries in Eugene, Oregon as this southern Willamette Valley town has seen a boom in its brewing scene. Today we travel to Hop Valley Brewing and check out their winter warmer called Festeroo.

FesterooComing in at 6.8% and an IBU rating of 60, Festeroo is a limited edition winter ale that’s available in 22 oz bottles and on draft where you can find it.

How does it taste?

Festeroo pours a dark amber-brown color that’s transparent, but barely. There’s a little off-white/brown lacing on the glass and overall the beer has light carbonation. The smells you pick up on are of molasses malt and a bit of dark toast and biscuit. You also sense caramel and spices, making it perfect for the Christmas season.

When you sip the beer, you taste the clean and crisp amber-ale style beginning that’s hop-forward and smooth on the back end. You do pick up on that caramel malt and the piney, grassy hops. The beer finishes with a that piney, refreshing hop finish.

This beer starts well and ends perfect. If you’re an amber fan looking for a winter beer to try, this is the one for you.

Should I buy it?

Absolutely. Buy multiple 22 oz bottles so you can share while enjoying Christmas baking or watching your favorite Christmas movie.

Review: MacTarnahan’s Winter Humbug’r Ale

Author: Jason Harris
December 19, 2011

MacTarnahan’s is one of Portland’s oldest breweries and has long been popular amongst local beer lovers. Today’s trip in the Winter Ale review train takes us to MacTarnahan’s brewery as we try Mactarnahan’s Humbug’r Ale. I bought this beer and enjoyed it out of the bottle, which came in a tall 22 oz bottle.

This beer, like some of the other ales I’ve been reviewing as of late, is completely dark – you cannot see through this beer at all. It’s heavy in malts and has a roasted flavor according to the website. This beer uses four malts including caramel, Black Roast, Wheat and Oats and the hops are comprised of Northern Brewer and Willamette. This beer is available from September through December and weights in at 5.3% ABV.

This beer is very dark and smells of chocolate and bit of coffee. It has a very black color and a bubbly head. At first sip, the heavily roasted malts comes through heavily. This is a very, very malty beer that almost tastes like black chalk. Unlike Black Butte Porter, which is very smooth and silky, Humbug’r is chalky and dry.

The taste can be described as a mix of roasted dark malt, coffee and some metallic taste. A roasty bitterniess sticks around during and between sips.

If you’re a fan of heavy dark porters, Humbg’r will suit you, however, I cannot recommend this ale.


Review: Widmer Brrr Winter Ale

Author: Jason Harris
December 7, 2011

Autumn and winter are a special time of year. The days get shorter, the sun disappears and the cold settles in. This is why I love breaking out darker, heavier beers at this time of year. With that, let’s continue on with my series on the darker beers that winter brings to us.

Widmer Brewing is a favorite brewery in the Portland, Oregon area because their beers have a a consistent quality that transends them to the top of Portland’s brewing scene.

Brrr Winter ale is a darker beer (but not totally dark – you can see through it) comes in at 7.2% ABV and has 50 IBUs. Brrr pours dark red and give a well balanced approach to a malty winter ale.

At first sip, you can easily make out the caramel and chocolate malts that bring a slightly sweetened malty presence. Further into the drink, there’s a very smooth finish that isn’t sweet at all – more like a smooth porter, just balanced and makes you want more. This ale smells of slight hops and caramel malts, enticing you the whole time.

Some people don’t like winter dark ales because they are too malty and heavy. Brrr is not this kind of beer, it has a slight malty flavor that has a slightly sweet aftertaste that brings you back.

For those who like amber ales or brown ales, this ale will be a nice next step into the world of more flavorful beers. I like it, and I think you will too.