Lompoc's Ten Holiday Beers!

Holiday beer season is here!  The folks at Lompoc Brewing have been busy brewing, barreling, and blending 10 beers for the holiday season! Lompoc founder, Jerry Fechter, and his crew recently hosted a small gathering to preview their 10 holiday brews for 2011. 

Here’s what the lucky attendees sampled, in the order we tasted them.  Text in italics was copied from the tasting notes:

Blitzen (Golden Ale, 4.6% ABV):  This light bodied ale packs festive spice flavors of cinnamon, clove, lemon zest, and ginger. The spices are front and center, but not overwhelming. This has the lowest ABV of the beers we sampled and was a nice start to the tasting session.

Cherry Christmas (Sour Blend, 5.6% ABV):  I love sour and wild beers so this was the one I was most looking forward to tasting. It did not disappoint. More tart than sour, this light bodied ale had wonderful mild funky aromas and flavors. This beer was inoculated with just about everything—lactobacillus, brettanomyces, and pediococcus!  It’s a blend of four lovingly crafted beers (two golden ales fermented with sour cherries in stainless steel and Port barrels, a Brown Ale aged in Merlot barrels with a lambic blend for four years, and finally a Gueze thrown in for good measure). The beer wasn’t carbonated yet, but was absolutely delicious.  It will be served at Holiday Ale Festival, so be sure to look for it. I will.

Jerry Fechter looks on as Dave Fleming tells a beer tale.
Brewdolph (Belgian Red, 7.7% ABV):  This is a unique mix of hoppy, fruity, and spicy flavors.  No fruit or spice was added—these flavors are a result of the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain. Franc’ly Brewdolph (released last winter), will be back in 2012.  It was recently brewed and poured into wine barrels for a year-long slumber.

Holiday Cheer (Porter, 6.8% ABV):  Plenty of chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee flavors.  The vanilla notes are subtle, so be sure to let this one warm up before you drink it.  It has a creamy smooth mouth feel and was one of my favorites.

Jolly Bock (Lager, 7.3% ABV):  This lager was brewed with a generous amount of Munich malt to develop the deep amber color and rich malt flavor. The malty profile is balanced with a spicy hop bitterness.   While the alcohol content was fairly high, it was fairly well masked. 

Brewpublic's Angelo evaluating.
C-Sons Greetings (Imperial Pale Ale, 8% ABV):  One of Jerry’s favorites, this is actually the original version of Lompoc’s popular C-Note.  Made with seven “C” hops (Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger) this beer was originally deemed too strong in alcohol and was “dumbed down” to a lower ABV % and is now sold as C-Note.  Here’s your chance to taste the original.  It has big citrus and pine hop flavors balanced with a solid malt backbone

Bourbon Barrel Aged C-Sons Greetings (Imperial Pale Ale, 8% ABV):  Same beer as above but aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels for seven months. Be sure to let this one warm up and the oak flavors will come through.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the bourbon barrel treatment goes well with big hoppy beers.

Old Tavern Rat (Barleywine, 9.4% ABV):  Named in honor of the late, great Don Younger, Lompoc has been brewing this barleywine for about 10 years. The recipe (and ABV, ranging from 8% to 14.5%) has varied from year to year.  This vintage has a strong caramel malt base and is well balanced with hops. The alcohol is noticeable (as you’d expect), but it goes down smooth….

Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat (Barleywine, 9.7% ABV):   Now here’s a beer that was born to be aged in bourbon barrels! The flavors of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, and raisin meld together seamlessly!  Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine was originally brewed in December 2009, then aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels for 10 months and cellared for another 13. The dark amber-colored barley wine features a soft oak character with notes of raisins and figs.  Even if you’re not a fan of barleywines, this is one worth seeking out.  I picked up a bottle to cellar.

Eight Malty Nights (Chocolate Rye, 6.5%):  I got a true “sneak peak” of this beer, as it’s still fermenting.  It’s well named. This one’s all about the malt.  t’s a bit sweet—but that’s to be expected since fermentation is still underway. I hope to taste this one again after it’s done. This Chocolate Rye beer features a roasted chocolate flavor and a sweet finish. It’s dark brown in color and lightly hopped with English style hops. Raise a glass and toast, l’chaim to Portland’s first and only Chanukah seasonal. 6.5% ABV

The holidays are a great time to enjoy beer. Most breweries release their most unique and special creations during the this time of year. Lompoc has certainly upped the ante with their 10 holiday beers! If this post whet your appetite, you’re in luck. You can taste nine of these beers at The Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza at the Lompoc Sidebar on November 29.  The full press release is shown below.
One of these years, I expect Lompoc will bring us the Twelve Beers of Christmas….

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Lompoc Brewing Announces Release of 10 Holiday Beers

Nine will be available Nov. 29; a Chanukah beer will be released Dec. 14

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nov. 16, 2011 – The Lompoc brewers have been as busy as elves preparing for the holiday season. This year, they are releasing 10 different holiday beers, including one for Chanukah. The Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza will feature nine of these on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 4 to 10 pm at the Lompoc Sidebar, located at 3901 N Williams Ave. The tenth, a Chanukah beer, will be released at its own party on December 14.

This year's holiday seasonals include Blitzen Spiced Golden Ale, Cherry Christmas Sour Blend, Brewdolph Belgian Style Red, Holiday Cheer Robust Vanilla Porter, Jolly Bock German Style Bock, C-sons Greetings Imperial IPA, Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings, Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine, Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat and 8 Malty Nights Chocolate Rye.

All beers except 8 Malty Nights will be on draft at Sidebar on November 29; most of the beers will also be available at the other Lompoc pubs: New Old Lompoc, Hedge House, Oaks Bottom and Fifth Quadrant. Two of the beers, C-sons Greetings and Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat, are also available in 22 ounce bottles.

Portland's only Chanukah seasonal, 8 Malty Nights Chocolate Rye, will be released at its own party at Sidebar on December 14 from 4 to 10 pm. This will be followed by an event on December 17 at Green Dragon titled Chanukah vs. Christmas: The Battle Royale of Beers. This event will feature five beers from Shmaltz Brewing: Jewbelation 15, Genesis 15:15, Hop Manna, Vertical Jewbelation and Geektoberfest pitted against five beers from Lompoc Brewing: 8 Malty Nights, 2010 Franc’ly Brewdolph, Cherry Christmas, Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine and Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings. There will also be an Extreme Dreidel Tournament.

For more information, call 503.288.3996 or visit www.newoldlompoc.com.

1 comment:

  1. Back in the day, Lompoc used to release C- Son's Greetings (and any other Chrismtas beers) the Wed before Thanksgiving at New Old Lompoc... It was a staple in our Thanksgiving weekend plans... I'm sad we have to wait until the 29th! - Freebird


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