Double Mountain Fa La La La La Winter Ale

DoubleMountain_WinterBrewer: Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
Style: Winter Warmer Ale
Alc/Vol: 7.5%
IBU: 85

Description: One of Double Mountain Brewery’s older seasonal beers, the Fa La La La is a Winter Warmer brewed annually for the holiday season. Like a traditional Winter Ale, it has a slightly sweet and coarse malt profile. But the ale also has some distinct Northwestern characteristics, which in this case takes the form of a generous dose of Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit of a surprise, taking what is typically a malt-forward variety of beer and adding some serious, bitter hop flavor. The end result was not so much balanced as conflicted, lovely in appearance and bouquet, but somewhat muddled in the flavor department. Initially, it is slightly sweet and floral, but becomes quite strong towards the end with a heaping dose of bitter grapefruit flavor. A good beer, but perhaps a little heavy on the IBUs, under the circumstances.

Appearance: Dark red-amber, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich hop nose, sugary, floral and citrus notes
Taste: Rich malts, slightly coarse, hint of brown sugar, raisins, citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering citrus rind and coarse malt bitterness
Overall: 7.5/10

Swan’s Seven Swans a Swimming Tis the Saison

swans-seven1Brewer: Swan’s Brewery
Style: Belgian Saison
Alc/vol: 7%

Description: Seven Swans a Swimming is brewed in limited quantities in honor of the holiday season every year. The Belgian-style Saison ale is made in the farmhouse tradition, using barley, water, Belgian yeast strains, spices, and an infusion of raisins.

Tasting Notes: The beer is consistent with some of the best Saisons I’ve had in recent years. Like a good Saison, it is  distinctly yeasty, subtle in terms of malt flavor, and has a some discernible coriander spice and sweetness to it. The added raisins certainly helps in this latter regard, providing a slight sugary hint that is a little reminiscent of barley wine. Definitely reminded me of the holiday season.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Yeasty, subtle malt, hint of coriander spice
Taste: Immediate burst of yeast, slight sugary sweetness, coriander spice
Aftertaste: Mildly bitter, lingering spice and yeast flavor
Overall: 9/10