3.0 out of 5 Stars
I want to love this beer. I want to love all winter beers. The sheer idea of trying to bottle Christmas is amazing. This one is just off. The Deschutes website says that this is “A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping.” I agree with all of that until the last part; the hops aren’t balanced. There’s a delicious beer hiding inside, there’s just too much bitterness and a slight dryness in the aftertaste that cloaks what it really could be.
The initial hit on the tongue has heavy malt and spice flavors with a pleasant carbonated bubbliness. Then it fades into the dreaded “We’ve put too much hops in our beer” flavor that I’ve grown accustomed to living in Southern California. Which is one of the surprising features of this beer for me, since it comes from Oregon. If you love the near-triple-digit IBU IPAs that breweries crank out, you’ll really like this winter ale. If you enjoy something that is more along the lines of a traditional winter beer, you’ll want to look elsewhere.