Welcome to the December 17th edition of our 25 Days of Beers & Cheers Series! Today’s Christmas/Holiday themed brew comes from the Abita Brewing Company out of the great state of Louisiana. The only Abita beers that I have enjoyed were fruit beers, especially a really great blueberry ale. Here is what Abita has to say about their Christmas Ale: “Abita Christmas Ale (November – December) rounds out our calendar. Each year at the Abita Brewery we craft a special dark ale for the holiday season. The recipe changes each year so that Abita Christmas Ale is always the perfect gift. Its spicy character is excellent with traditional holiday foods such as gingerbread or spiced nuts. Try some blue cheese or a creamy Camembert with a Christmas Ale.”
Let’s see how Abita Christmas Ale stacks up against the rest of the brews in The 25 Days of Beers and Cheers series!
Abita Christmas Ale, poured into the glass is slightly and lightly hazy or cloudy. The color is a mix of a brown or copper color. Abita Christmas Ale is topped with about a 2 finger dense head that is off-white/vanilla almost to a light khaki color. My glass came with great head retention. On the residual side of things, Abita Christmas Ale has soapy lacing that hangs on all the way down the glass. Lastly, Abita Christmas Ale is packed with some light streaming carbonation.
Abita Christmas Ale definitely has a familiar smell as compared to the other brews in the 2 Days of Beers and Cheers Series, though as concentration focuses in on the brew, some new and unique aromas make themselves known. The primary aromas that come forward are of caramel and a toasty, biscuity note. Mixed within this carbo-loaded aroma is a sweet hint of brown sugar and just the faintest hint of chocolate. What threw me off on Abita Christmas Ale was the sensation of fruity aromas/almost to a tropical point. Aromas of grapefruit zest, floral notes, pine, and a sort of dirty or earthy aroma fill the nose. Abita Christmas Ale has a very unique blend of earthy and fruity aromas that you do not often find with a Christmas ale.
Surprisingly, Abita Christmas Ale is not anywhere as sweet as would have expected. What I found was that Abita Christmas Ale was far more burnt tasting than anticipated and was laced with a bit of spiciness of nutmeg. Though I had a strong sense of brown sugar on the aroma, the actual flavor was quite lacking in the brown sugar department. Sadly for Abita Christmas Ale, the mouthfeel came off as very light bodies, almost watery, which is not what I am looking for in a winter warmer or Christmas ale. I will say that for a winter warmer, Abita Christmas Ale is a very hoppy offering with hints of a caramel taste. Notes include a hint of resin, orange peel, and earth.
Overall, I give Abita Christmas Ale a 80% B-. Abita Christmas Ale is fairly enjoyable. The light body and lack of any robust mouthfeel leaves a lot to be desired, and the cacophony of flavors and aromas really leaves this brew feeling lost in itself. All that being said, this one is an easy drink and one that is fairly flavor packed and easy to drink – though I was wanting just a bit more.