Posts Tagged ‘ 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale ’

Merry Christmas from An Amateur Beer Enthusiast!

It is Christmas once again, and everyone knows what that means!

Christmas is a time for time for great food, quality time with family and friends, a few presents, and of course some well crafted beer.

This Christmas has been a bit strange in terms of my beer selection. Typically I stock up on every winter seasonal possible since many of my favorite beers are winter seasonals. This year, however, I have decided to try to some new year round craft beers in order to replace the void I have with my inability to get Thirsty Dog Brewing Company’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale and Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale (2 of the best winter seasonals from Northeast Ohio). My first series of beers comes from a fun Colorado Brewery known as Oskar Blues.

What makes Oskar Blues special in the world of craft beer is that they were the first craft brewery to can their beer. Originally Oskar Blues beer was available on a draught only basis at the Oskar Blue Grill and Brew in Lyons, Colorado. In November 2002, brewery founder Dale Katechis  launched a campaign titled “Canned Beer Apocalypse” with the canning of Oskar Blues flagship beer Dale’s Pale Ale.

At the beginning, Oskar Blues could only seal one can at a time. Now Oskar Blues offer 6 beer varieties available in cans as well as several draught only beers available at multiple Oskar Blues locations throughout Colorado.

I sampled all 6 Oskar Blues canned offerings and I must say I am very impressed. For many craft beer enthusiasts the can is a symbol of the bland tasting macro produced beers. Oskar Blues on the other hand has put some of the best beer I have ever tasted into convenience of a can.

The debate between whether beer should be canned or bottled has always raged amongst craft beer fans. The perception among many is that bottled beer is superior to canned beer. This is not necessarily true, as Oskar Blues decision to can their beer was intentional.

Canned beer actually has several benefits. Cans keep beer safe from light and oxygen, provide easier portability than bottles for both outdoor events and commercial transportation. According to Oskar Blues website, 35% of the weight of a bottled beer is the bottle itself.

Cans also protect beer from potential breakage that is very common with the transportation of glass bottles. Working in beer distribution, I have witnessed first hand the horrors of broken glass and the mess that comes when bottled beers break.

And most importantly, you cannot hang beer bottles on your Christmas tree.

I know. What an awesome picture.

Here is a brief summary of Oskar Blues “Canned Beer Apocalypse” lineup:

Dale’s Pale Ale ( American Pale Ale, 6.5% Abv, 65 IBUs): This is Oskar Blues flagship beer. It has received several accolades, including a Gold Medal from the 2010 World Beer Championships and recognition in the New York Times as one of the best American Pale Ales. Overall this beer is a great session beer that is a light amber/copper in color, and has a slight sweetness and a solid hop finish.

Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Czech Pilsner, 5.3%Abv, 35 IBUs): Mama’s Little Yella Pils is what a pilsner should be. Want something light, easy to drink and full of flavor. Well put down that Miller Lite champ and treat yourself to this beer.

Old Chub (Scottish Ale/ Wee Heavy, 8% Abv): When I drank this beer, I was slightly reminded of 12 Dogs of Christmas. While Old Chub is not as sweet, it has a semi-sweet/smokey flavor that makes this beer very warming for the cold winter months. I will certainly be buying this again during the winter season.

Gordon Ale ( Imperial Red/Double IPA, 8.7% Abv, 6o IBUs): Named after Colorado craft brewer Gordon Knight, this beer falls into the categories of IPAs I like. I tend to gravitate toward IPAs that can couple strong hop bitterness with a full body and enough malt to prevent the beer from tasting to dry. Gordon Ale is an interesting take in the world of IPAs.

Ten Fidy (Imperial Stout, 10.5% Abv, 98 IBUs): Next to Old Chub, Ten Fidy is probably my favorite beer from Oskar Blues. This beer is rich in flavor and has a deep black color that always makes me smile when I pour it into a glass. Ten Fidy has the strong chocolate/toffee flavors that do well to balance out the hop taste.

Gubna (Imperial IPA, 10% Abv, 100 IBUs): Oskar Blues calls this a hop grenade in a can. This is definitely true, as Gubna is a complex IPA. Gubna pours an orangish color that has a slight haze to it. The flavor is strong throughout the beer, but does well to not be offensive.

So there you have it. These are the beers that I have been drinking as I prepared for the Christmas season. They are all delicious and it is impressive when a craft brewery has a lineup of beers that exudes this much quality. While Ten Fidy, and Gubna are only available in expensive four packs, I will not think twice about purchasing beer from Oskar Blues in the future.

Merry Christmas readers! Drink and be merry!


It is practially fall. Time for Pumpkin Ales!

Yesterday I had my first pumpkin ale of the season.

Dogfish Head‘s Punkin Ale was truly a pleasure to have. It was a complex brew filled with sweet, spicy, and real pumpkin flavor.

Punkin Ale may only be on sale in 4-packs, but it is well worth it!

I love this beer. In many ways reminded me of my favorite winter seasonal from Thirsty Dog in Akron, Ohio. Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is in many ways similar to Punkin Ale. While I found Punkin Ale to be toned down a bit, both ales use similar spices to provide their beer’s character with a sweet and spicy contrast.

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is so good it won’t last long. Get it when it gets released this November.

I will not get into too many details about Punkin Ale as you can check out my Punkin Ale review on my Examiner page. I just want to quickly comment on how awesome this beer was.

Before Punkin Ale my only experience with a pumpkin ale was Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale from Blue Moon Brewing Company. While I like Harvest Moon solely because I had no frame of reference with pumpkin ales, I think that Dogfish Head’s variety blows Blue Moon’s pumpkin ale attempt out of the water.

Punkin ale is original, complex, and has an authentic pumpkin flavor that does not taste like a nauseatingly sweet pumpkin pie.

If you are a fan of pumpkin ales such as this one, then I encourage you to visit Vintage Estate Wine & Beer in Boardman, OH on September 25th. Vintage Estate is hosting a Pumpkin Ale Blind Tasting event. About 8 to 10 pumpkin ales will be featured and tasters will not be revealed to their identity until they decide which ales are the best.

Have a pumpkin ale you like? Comment and let me know so I can pick it up and review it. Pumpkin ales will be a good break from the slew of Oktoberfest brews that get released during this season.

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale- I really don’t care what season it is…

I know that its spring and the weather is finally starting to brighten up, but I am not the type of drinker to let the seasons dictate my beer choices. If any of you read my review of Sam Adams Noble Pils, you would know this to be true.

So despite the spring season, I would like to tell you all about Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. Thirsty Dog is a brewery located out of Akron, Ohio and each winter season they release this specialty beer that will certainly appeal to the experienced beer drinker. With an ABV of 8.3%, this microbrew is not for the average beer drinker looking for a mass market light beer.

Photo Credit:

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale combines honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to create a brew that has a very unique flavor. It is not quite as forthright as the honey flavor in Dundee’s Honey Brown Ale. This combination of flavor and spices creates a blend that makes it easily distinguishable from other winter beers.

This beer is also very much on malty side, as Thirsty Dog beers are known for their high quality malted barleys. I enjoy this beer mainly for this reason, and the hops used serve more to balance the sweetness of the malt. Unlike a beer like Sam Adams Noble Pils, this beers profile is a thick beer with a hint of sweetness.

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale may be meant to warm drinkers during the bitter winters, but I recommend this beer for any time of year. All in all, this has been one of the best beers that I have ever tasted. It has a great body with phenomenal flavor. If you are growing tired of the bland taste of mass produced beers, than 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale may be the change that you need.

Thoughts? Comments?

Side Note: Recently my good friend Rainer Fehrenbacher wrote an entry on his blog about my beer reviews. I encourage you to check out his blog. I found it to be very amusing and I enjoy Rainer’s perspective on life and other issues. Check it.