Last Holiday / winter beers… Rogue’s Yellow Snow, Old Credit’s Holiday Honey and Innis & Gunn’s Winter Treacle Porter


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‘Twas a week before Christmas… I was at a corporate Christmas party way back in 2008 and when I returned to my table with a glass of scotch on ice, a colleague turned to me and said;

“Oh no, you’re one of those…”

“Who” I asked

“One who doesn’t know any better than to put ice in his scotch”

“Oh boy…” I wondered.

This was a Christmas party where a lot of us were getting drunk. Laurie in accounting would probably make out with someone (she did), Bill in sales would throw up in the man’s bathroom (okay, he didn’t, but he did try to pick a fight) and Joanne in HR (of all people) would get into a heated debate about politics (she did –it was Bill). This was not a lounge where professors wearing ascots, sit in leather chairs and discuss the legacy of the university over a fine Scotch while puffing on expensive cigars. This was a ballroom cliché of a Christmas party where drinks were half price; the scotch cost about $3.00.

But let’s imagine for a moment that a millionaire walks into a bar and orders a bottle of Chivas Regal Royal Salute, (50 years old) priced at $10,000. Unless he or she had never tasted it before, then drinking it with ice from the get go would be a shame. But I’m a strong believer that what happens after a first taste is entirely up to the one picking up the tab. In fact, if a millionaire wants a scoop of vanilla ice cream in his glass, get him one.

Christmas parties or not, that’s my 2 cents. That being said, if two out of the three beers I’m reviewing today were available that night, I probably would have ignored the so-called Scotch on ice. Last but not least, this Christmas, you drink what you want to drink and how you want to drink. Don’t let the uptight ones tell you otherwise.

I’ve just edited my post to include this very line. It never occurred to me throughout my review that all 3 beers ended up missing a little something. Rogue’s could have done a little more with the name, Holiday Honey could have been more of a Holiday beer and Innis & Gunn’s could have been more of a porter. Just wanted to point it out.

Here’s my review.

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Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA

The first beer I would have had that night would have been Rogue’s Yellow Snow. The search paid off. I looked all over the city for it and finally found it.

First of all, let me clear up something important. Yellow Snow was listed as some of the beers that the LCBO were going to carry for the holidays, however, urine winter farce name aside, it’s an IPA. Rogue has made no mention of it being a Holiday or winter beer, so my review classifies it as a winter beer which, in all honesty, isn’t too accurate. but like its name, why not have a little fun and call it reindeer yellow snow.

LOOK: Yellow Snow poured a hazy dark yellow with a good half inch of head which unevenly dissipated with time. It’s not the first time a Rogue beer is hazy, but what can I say, where some see quality in a beautiful clear beer, I see quality in their hazy beer. I’ll review their Pumpkin Patch next and let me ruin the end of the movie for you; it’s an outstanding hazy beer.

SMELL: The obvious smell of hops was present and undertones of citrus came through a little.

TASTE: It’s typical of an IPA. Hops presence, citrusy hints and bitterness were all on the forefront; almost too safe a concoction. Malts also came out as well as some sweetness towards the middle.

FINISH: It’s kind of one dimensional. The last sip left me with a little too much bitterness.

BODY: Medium and creamy enough. It’s carbonated just right.

CONTEXT: Behind every joke is a little bit of truth but why Yellow Snow? I don’t get it, there is nothing wintery about it.

I have to be honest and tell you that I was slightly disappointed as I expected so much more out of this one. Maybe it’s because everyone’s getting on the IPA band wagon, I mean, I’m just waiting on Budweiser to release an IPA Bud version. God forbid. I was also a little turned off when this IPA offered nothing more than an IPA recipe. With a name like Yellow Snow, I think Rogue missed out on an opportunity to experiment with an IPA in a winter version. Imagine that, an IPA with a nice winter blend of spices. Eh, why not… they’ve successfully introduced us to their Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale (the only thing missing were anchovies) and the result was better than average.

Pairing: cheeses, fish and sea food. Curries and spicy.

Score: 68%

Price: $13.60 (6x 355ml)

Beer type: American IPA

Alcohol/Vol.: 6.5%

Brewery: Rogue Brewery

Country / Region: Oregon, USA

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Innis and Gunn Winter Treacle Porter

The beer I would have ended the night with would have been Innis & Gunn’s Winter Treacle Porter. Something tells me she would have looked as good in the morning.

…and a fine beer it was.

LOOK:  Winter Treacle poured dark amber with good head for a fine amount of time.

SMELL: The smell of sweetness really came out. Treacle, vanilla and a little honey make for a fine smell. Aside from the sweetness of the beer, I was able to pick-up Innis & Gunn’s notorious signature oak barrel smell and a hint of whisky. It also has a little bit of blackberry, fruity and cocoa aromas.

TASTE: The very first thing that came to mind along with the vanilla was leather –good leather. The oak barrel, the whisky and the cake-like taste came out really well as I drank and the alcohol level being 7.4 never outshone the rest of the ingredients.

FINISH:  It finished up with a little more oak and leathery feel. Not as sweet and never compromised by the higher ABV.

BODY: Creamy with a more relaxed carbonation made for a fine beer.

CONTEXT: As far as winter goes, it’s a good winter beer even if typical winter spices are not present. However the porter I don’t really get. This beer was not much of a porter so a few points were lost there.

Pairing: Soft cheeses, grilled meats and sweets like cake.

Score: 74%

Price: $3.45 (330ml)

Beer type: American Porter

Alcohol/Vol.: 7.4%

Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewery

Country / Region: U.K.

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Old Credit Holiday Honey

LOOK:  Holiday Honey poured beautiful amber with a generous off-white head which retained really well. It’s a very bubbly beer.

SMELL: This was perhaps the first sign of trouble for Holiday Honey. The look was promising aside from its aggressive carbonation. The aroma of the beer gave very little pay with its faint smell of apple pie, honey and little hops but not much else.

TASTE: The beer tastes good. It tastes really good if you’re looking to quench yourself on a hot summer day. I don’t get the winter / holiday at all. Aside from being very thirst quenching watery, the honey is the only thing worth mentioning along with a slight detection of hops and some salty attributes. It’s a good beer if you’re thirsty but there isn’t much more to say.

FINISH:  Not much different from the start.

BODY:  Watery with almost too much carbonation. It tasted like a session beer, like the best macro brew made from a micro brewery. Another analogy is that it was like a good carbonated glass of Perrier with a slice of beer.

CONTEXT: I am beginning to feel guilty. I didn’t want to slam this beer because I like these guys but seriously, there isn’t much Holiday about it.

Pairing: Soft cheeses, grilled meats and sweets like cake.

Score: 60%

Price: $3.95 (680ml)

Beer type: American Amber

Alcohol/Vol.: 5%

Brewery: Old Credit Brewery

Country / Region: Mississauga, Ontario

So there you have it folks. My Holiday / Christmas and winter beers are done for the year.

Cheers, don’t drink and drive. Be good!

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