The Pacific Northwest is known as America’s largest hop-growing region as well as a hotbed of breweries that emphasize the exuberant flavors of those hops. So it should come as no surprise that Portland, Oregon’s Widmer Brothers conceive of holiday cheer as a red ale with resiny, grapefruit hop flavors. They call the beer Brrr, and its 7.1 percent alcohol is more than enough to warm you up on a cold day.
Widmer balances the assertive hop flavors and aromas by beefing up the malt base with a blend of caramel malts for body and a residual sweetness that gives the beer a slightly sticky feel on the palette. If you can’t take any level of spice and were ready to give up on holiday beers altogether, this one is for you. It delivers the hops, but the idyllic label featuring a warm-looking lodge in front of a snow-capped mountain will keep you from looking like a scrooge.
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