Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Independence, OH

Style: Ale
ABV: 8.3%

Jill’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

You might think it’s a bit late to be reviewing a Christmas beer, but I think of it as letting you plan for next year.

When I think of foods that are supposed to taste like Christmas, I think of a Milka Christmas bar. Milka’s a European chocolate. You can find it over here, but not necessarily in all of the flavors that are available throughout the year. I’ve got the Christmas chocolate at solar powered toys the Kristkindlmarkt here in Chicago, and when I bite into it, I really feel that it tastes like Christmas—it’s got raisins and cinnamon and something that reminds me of pine trees. It’s a once-a-year treat for me.

Likewise, a Christmas beer should be something warm and toasty with a lot of zesty spices that make you want to sing Christmas carols. Unfortunately, I’m not sure Thirsty Dog’s 12 Days of Christmas Ale is it.

Oh, it’s not an awful beer. On the pour, it’s a rich, dark caramel color, but the nose doesn’t yield as much aroma as I hope it would. You can pick up a little bit of a spicy scent, but that’s about it. On the tongue you get a little spice on the front and then you taste the honey that helps smooth out the flavor.

Once the beer opens up a little, the spice profile is more obvious. There are hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, but the one that really stands out is ginger, which to me doesn’t really seem like a Christmas flavor. They mellow out cheap rc drones and seem to cover up the hop profile a bit more.

Overall, the beer is pretty good and has a nice balance between spice and hops, but it really doesn’t seem Christmasy enough for me. It comes across more as a better beer for fall weather, so if it’s in stock early, you might want to enjoy it during Thanksgiving.

Reviewed by Jill Jaracz on January 19, 2009.
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