Daily beer project

Santa’s Little Helper

Posted in American Craft Beer, Imports by dailybeerproject on December 15, 2010

Cascade Lakes Brewery Santa’s Little Helper: Prior to visiting Bend, I had not heard of Cascade Lakes Brewery. It was located near where I was staying, and I drove past every day, stopping one evening for dinner. I ordered the Santa’s Little Helper, their winter seasonal. It’s a wonderful beer. 6.4% abv and 50 IBU make for a nicely balanced beer, and crystal, chocolate, and honey on the grain bill make for a rich, complex malt.

Cascade Lakes Brewery Paulina Lake Pilsner: Very different than the Santa’s Little Helper, this would make a good transition beer for the Bud Light drinker looking to explore the world of craft beer. The hops are more noticeable and the flavor more sour than in an American lager, enough so to keep it interesting to a beer snob without putting off someone used to stuff that is best summed up with a quote on the menu at the Bayou “Light beer is for people who don’t like the flavor of beer and who like to pee a lot.” It’s a lot like Session lager and something I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again.

Deschutes Brewery Green Lakes Organic Ale: This Deschutes beer isn’t available locally, but I wish it were. It’s a lovely beer, described as an amber, though oddly, comes in a little higher in IBU (45) than Mirror Pond (40). Not that I’m complaining. Had this on tap from Woody, and it was great. It’s a highly versatile beer, as ambers tend to be, and I can’t imagine a beer drinker that wouldn’t like it.

Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale: I’ve enjoyed exploring the range of winter seasonals and seeing how different breweries interpret the style. This one is very similar to an ESB, with a noticeable hop presence typical of an English IPA (not an American IPA, which tends to be much hoppier), but with a richer, more robust malt flavor. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, thought I had served it too warm (it was probably around 50 degrees). Interestingly, as I sipped it and it warmed further, I liked it more and more. By the end, I didn’t want to be done. And if it were priced locally the way it is in England, I’d solve that problem by purchasing more. But since Full Sail Wassail can be had for less than $8 for a six pack, it’s hard to spend nearly twice that for something I like about the same.

Sierra Nevada Celebration: Sierra Nevada’s take on a winter seasonal is similar to that of Full Sail’s Wreck the Halls. They describe it as an IPA right on the label, and that’s what it tastes like. But the thing I like about many of these winter seasonals is that they’re not IPAs or ambers or really anything else you can get year-round. They’re a unique offering that just tastes like what you should be drinking in cold weather. Which is not to say you shouldn’t be drinking Celebration if you have a chance.


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  1. Retrospective « Daily beer project said, on January 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    […] had on tap, but finding it is a huge challenge–they didn’t even offer it on tap out of Woody. McTarnahan’s Bah Humbug’r is my favorite porter, but it’s a seasonal offering, […]

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