We had a great Christmas eve, Christmas, and weekend following the holiday. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much chance to enjoy some good beer. The good news was that my sister went to Cincinnati and brought back several beers for me, including this one. I don’t know how they can get this in Cincinnati, and we’re located 2.5 hours from Chicago and can’t get it here in central Illinois. I’ve heard a lot about this one, and wanted to try it, so it was a great Christmas gift from my sister. The bottle says, “Alpha King’s festive cousin. A big American, Christmas Porter brewed with English chocolate malt, Mexican sugar, and of course, tons of strange American hops.”
Location: Poured into a large Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass from the 22oz bomber at my home in Bloomington, IL
Numbers: 6% ABV, 38 IBUs, ~200 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color with no highlights when held up to the light. The tan head (as you can see in the picture) is massive and fluffy with great retention and lacing. The aroma is complex with some coffee roastiness with piney hoppiness in the background.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium, and the mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy from the head. The front is a lightly roasty, cocoa flavor, which becomes more coffee-like and bitter in the middle. The bitterness grows in the finish, with a mix of earthy-piney hops and a cocoa-coffee bitterness. These bitter flavors stick around for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This beer has mostly coffee and cocoa flavors with some hoppy bitterness. It would complement a chocolate dessert, like my grandma’s German chocolate cake (which I just had on Christmas eve), perfectly. I also see where this would balance with holiday favorites such as turkey and cranberries.
Overall Impression: When I saw this was a Christmas Porter, I was expecting a spiced beer, but instead it was a very solid porter with a good dose of hops. I enjoyed the roasty flavors of cocoa and coffee, which were very smooth and not astringent at all. It had just the right amount of bitterness to complement the roasty malt flavors. Overall, this was a very good porter which I’d gladly accept again as a Christmas present.