Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Southern Tier Krampus

I’ve been setting on this review for quite a while.  Here lately I’ve been accomplishing a lot more beer drinking than beer reviewing.  This brew is one that I really liked so I wanted to post it for you guys.

I found this brew a while back and it seemed a little out of place.  It appeared to be a Christmas/winter beer by the looks of the graphics but it was September at the time.  It's hard to see in the picture but the demon looking thing is holding a club with some Christmas holly on it.  That's Christmasy isn't it?  I thought to myself maybe the breweries graphic artist were a little off kilter and were celebrating Christmas a little early.  The other thing that struck me as odd was the style displayed on the label was Imperial Helles Lager.  This is not really a style that would jump to mind when you think of a Christmas/winter brew.  Undeterred I followed through with the purchase and was rewarded handsomely for my gamble.

The Krampus poured a golden yellow with a substantial head.  The nose is a very inviting aroma of somewhat a somewhat spicy floral character.  The mouthfeel was creamy with lots of carbonation.  The head starts strong and lasts almost indefinitely.  The creamy mouthfeel is a hint to the very smooth munich malt character hiding in this brew.  Complimenting the malt is a nice bitterness that is very even.  By even I mean it coats the palate evenly through the start and into the finish.  The bitterness is very smooth without any notable astringency.  The finish gives way to some floral hop notes and a hint of sour fruit.  I really liked this brew.  It is a well made product and everything is in perfect harmony.  Nothing is overwhelming and all the ingredients play nicely together. 

Now that I’ve confirmed this is an exceptional brew, what’s the deal with the bottle?  Is this a Christmas/winter brew?  Researching their website this is considered their Christmas Seasonal with a November release.  This means I was enjoying a brew from last years holiday season.  An Imperial Helles Lager is not what most people would expect for a Christmas beer.  I personally envision dark beers with chocolate and/or cinnamon added to them for Christmas type beers.  Although this is clearly not a dark spiced brew this is a winner in my book.  This years batch should be hitting the shelves soon, if not already there.  Check it out.


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