Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Winter Seasonals — 21st Amendment/Ninkasi Collaboration vs. Rogue

21st Amendment/Ninkasi Collaboration: ALLIES WIN THE WAR!
ABV 8.5%

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve Ale
ABV 5.2%

As we continue to chip away at the winter seasonals this battle features a holiday staple from Rogue and a newcomer collaboration from 21st Amendment in San Francisco and Ninkasi in Eugene.
The Santa's Reserve has one of my favorite labels from Rogue — it's festive, a bit edgy and features glow-in-the-dark snowflakes! The ALLIES WIN THE WAR! can is eye-catching as well with the whole old newspaper theme and photoshopped historical photo on the side, but it's such a bizarre name for a beer that the whole concept seemed a bit forced.
Despite our label bias it was the AWTW that proved to be the best in the glass. It had a nice piney hop presence to go along with its malty sweetness, but really set itself apart in the mouthfeel which was excellent — smooth and rich without being syrupy. The Rogue beer, which is a holiday version of their Saint Rogue Red with twice the hops, had great color in the glass (reddish orange) but it was all show. It was very clean smelling, almost soapy and tasted thin and bitter with simple citrus flavors. The finish left us with a long-lasting, unpleasantly harsh bitterness. So, according to Rogue, Santa prefers his beers thin and bitter. Perhaps it makes sense as sort of a counterbalance to that jolly old Saint Nick routine he puts on? But if you're asking us, we'd say leave a can of the AWTW on your mantle next to some stout brownies if you really want to get on the "nice" list for next year.

Winner by unanimous decision: ALLIES WIN THE WAR!

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