Once a year, Lompoc Brewing previews the upcoming release of their holiday beers which is a privilege to those lucky few of us in the industry.  This year’s preview took place November 12th at Lompoc’s Side Bar in Northeast Portland, Oregon.  Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter hosted the event, with brewers Bryan Keilty & Josh Merrick on hand to elaborate on each of the beers previewed at this evening event.

Jolly Bock (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.
At the time of the preview, this beer was a bit new as it was 2 of 4 weeks into lagering but was planned for release on November 26th.  It was anticipated that the additional time would bring out more of the spicy flavoring.

8 Malty Nights (6.5% ABV)

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.
This was my favorite of the evening. Brewed this past October, only 90 cases were produced this year, which have received the blessing of a Rabbi. Hints of coffee and toasted grains on the front end; a sweet finish makes this one a nice winter warmer.  Planned release in bottles was on November 27th.

C-sons Greetings (8% ABV)

C-sons Greetings is a higher alcohol version of our popular C-Note Imperial Pale Ale, brewed and dry-hopped with even more of the seven “C” hops – Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger. It features a deep copper color with a piney, citrusy, floral and resinous aroma. A rich caramel malt finish balances the full hop flavor and endless developing hop presence.
As Jerry referred to it, “Money since 1992”.  Hints of pine not too over the top & very smooth finish, a word to the wise as this one is not to be drunk on an empty stomach…

Franc’ly Brewdolph (7.6% ABV)

This Belgian style red ale has a malty and creamy body. It was brewed in October 2011 with the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain and aged for a year in Cabernet Franc barrels.
One of the smoothest beers of the evening.  Hints of cranberries & nutmeg stand out with this beer.  This on tap only beer definitely takes advantage of the aging from the brett barrels.  This beer was also made available at the recently held Portland Holiday Ale Festival.

Old Tavern Rat (9.4% ABV)

This dark, amber colored barley wine was aged for almost a year prior to its release. It has a strong bitterness that is balanced with the sweetness of caramel and toffee flavors.
2011 was the first year this was brewed at Lompoc 5th Quadrant.  The 2011 batch was a darker, bitterer beer.   The 2012 edition is has bitter hints of toffee and raisin to the taste, minus the bite.   A must for sipping & nice evening of conversation.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy (7.5% ABV)

Brewed in Dec. 2011, this not so wee Wee Heavy spent nine months in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Dark and smoked specialty malts, along with 50 pounds of molasses, offer a deep malt base for this big beer. Overlaid with a pleasant bourbon aroma, this beer finishes lightly sweet with a warming sensation on the way down. We couldn’t have done this one alone, and must thank our partners, The Ladies of Lagers and Ales, aka LOLA, for this collaboration brew.
This winter warmer was my second favorite of the evening.  Drinking this one reminds me of a grandmother’s kitchen when baking banana bread… with a nice bourbon glaze.  The catch is it’s a bit heavier on the bourbon hints and molasses.

Blitzen (4.6% ABV)

This spiced golden ale is infused with cinnamon, clove, lemon zest and fresh ginger. It is bright gold in color with a strong cinnamon aroma. The flavor mixes bready wheat malt character with underlying ginger notes and a hint of citrus.
This one caught me off guard was I was expecting a lighter beer.  However the wheat malt made this one seem a bit more of a hefeweizen to me.  Very strong on the cinnamon & clove to the taste, the ginger was a nice change of pace at the finish.

On an unfortunate but understandable foot note, Holiday Cheer was not brewed for 2012 due to space limitation at the existing Lompoc brewpubs & the temporary loss of the New Old Lompoc location.  Hopefully it will be back in 2013!


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