Brewery: Moylan’s Brewery
City: Novato, CA
Beer: White Christmas
Type: Spiced Winter Lager
Notes: Piney, Sweet, Coriander, Malty, Caramel
Welcome to the 4th Beer of Christmas! This beer comes from the North Bay brewery Moylan’s. Most holiday beers in California tend to be ales, but Moylan’s has made a smooth Winter lager for the past few years. The main difference between ales and lagers is the way that the beers are fermented. Ales are top-fermented – meaning the yeast is poured from the top of the fermentation tank and then stored at higher temperature typically 60 to 80 degrees. Lagers are bottom-fermented – meaning that the yeast is released in the bottom of the fermentation tank and then stored at temperatures less than 50 degrees. This is to ensure a lower alcohol content because yeast are far less active at cooler temperatures. Moylan’s may have stored this beer at a cooler temperature, but it’s bright and sweet White Christmas lager definitely warms my palate.
Before the Sip
The White Christmas pours a light amber and caramel color. When you bring the glass up to your nose you will be pleasantly surprised with a sweet and floral aroma. Trusting your nose, you believe this beer to be full of sweet spices with a hint of pine and hops. Keep in mind that scientists have found thousands of natural aroma compounds in beer and your nose may pick up many more. Ideally, a beer should invite your senses in with a pleasant aroma, but remember that not all good drink smell good. “Seaweedy” = scotch whiskey, Sauvignon Blanc wines” = “cat’s pee,” and Riesling wines are said to have “gasoline notes.” Unlike the Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux, this beer actually smells good out of the bottle.
You dive into the light colored and sweet beer to find an unusually sharp and attention grabbing bitterness. The malt and caramel bitterness come out to say “Merry Christmas!” to the back of your tongue. It’s a very bright beginning but finishes with smooth and crisp taste. The spices really come out as you exhale, but mostly I find my palate surrounded by an aftertaste of pine and hops.
After drinking a few more sips, this beer becomes more sessionable – meaning a beer that you can drink more than one glass in a drinking session. It’s ABV is higher than a light beer, but I don’t find it’s bitterness a problem. Hoppy beers are an acquired taste, especially around Northern California, but the White Christmas allows newer craft beer drinkers the excitement of fresh hop surprises with a smooth sweet after taste. In comparison with the Marin Brew Co’s Hoppy Holidaze Ale, I find the White Christmas having a sharper bitter beginning with minimal amount of apparent spices. The Holidaze accentuates the flavors of vanilla, nutmeg, and oranges, whereas the White Christmas gives you an awakening zesty bite and leaves you with a sweet caramel aftertaste. In a way, this is perfect because your mouth is left with sweetness and refreshed by a clean bitter sip.
We hope you’re all doing well and getting ready for a great holiday season! Remember to let us know what beers you’ve tried and what you think on our Facebook page! We love good beer and can’t wait to take you on our tours.