Review: Kris Kringle, McMenamins

Kris Kringle
McMenamins — Portland, OR

  • Style:  Winter Warmer
  • Bitterness:  Not specified 
  • ABV:  6.8%
  • Malts:  Pale Ale Malt, Munich Malt, Wheat Malt,15L Crystal Malt, 120L Crystal Malt, Baird's Chocolate Malt
  • Hops:  Centennial (Bittering & Flavor), Santiam (Flavor), Cascade (Flavor & Aroma), Sterling (Flavor & Aroma)
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description:  The busy-as-elves McMenamins brewers have created another wonderful gift for your taste buds this holiday season. This year's version of Kris Kringle is a hearty and robust ale with a big and bold malt complexity as well as an intense and flavorful hop profile. This "winter warmer" highlights the rich, toasty, aromatic and chocolaty malt flavors as its very sturdy foundation. Generous amounts of four different hop varieties were added in five different additions that delivers a magnificent and massive hop assault. There's still some ginger and cinnamon added into the batch but the spices are a little more subdued than in years' past. McMenamins brewers hope you enjoy this years' version of our old Holiday favorite, Kris Kringle. — McMenamins

Random thoughts:  Brewed since 1986, Kris Kringle, is the longest running holiday seasonal in Oregon. The recipe varies slightly each year, and this year's Kringle is a bit more hoppy than prior years. I'm tasting Kris Kringle as part of my series on winter seasonal beers

The tasting:  When held up to the light, it’s deep garnet in color. It has a light tan head that dissipates very slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma of caramel, plum, pine, and a touch of alcohol. Flavor starts with bread, caramel, and chocolate, along with some mild piney hop bitterness. In the middle, light spice notes come through. They're subtle and hard to identify. There’s also a light tangy note in the middle, which provides an unexpected twist. Hop bitterness is moderate throughout. Kris Kringle is light to medium bodied, softly carbonated, and finishes with the light grapefruit hop bitterness. 

4 star.  Really good! I want this again!  This was the first time I tasted this beer and I’m not sure how I missed it all these years. Better late than never! Its got a little bit of everything—rich malty flavors, plenty of hops, and a touch of spice. At the same time, it manages to stay nicely balanced. If you want to check out Kris Kringle, he should be available at McMenamins locations until December 24th.

Have you tasted Kris Kringle?  How did this year's version compare to previous years?

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