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Nov 17, 2007 09:54 AM

This Year's Seasonals

Looking for thoughts on this years seasonals and some hounds' favorites and letdowns:

07 Studs so far:
Victory Festbier
*Troeg's Mad Elf (best of the year so far)
Anchor Christmas
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Post Road Pumpkin
New Belgium 2 Below
*Dogfish Punkin
Sam Adams Octoberfest

Jack's Pumpkin Spice
Blue Moon Harvest Moon
Southern Tier Pumpking
Becks Oktoberfest
Saranac Pumpkin
Hacker-Pschorr Fest

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  1. I've not tasted all of these beers, but on the whole I agree with you except for the Southern Tier Pumpking which I thought was the best pumpkin beer I have ever tasted. In fact, I have really enjoyed every one of their bomber-based beers and think they are a real up and comer in the craft brewing industry.

    7 Replies
    1. re: brentk

      I feel like Ii do need to give this one another chance, people seem to love the hell out of the pumking- perhaps a bad bottle? I do agree that love their bombers as well especially the oat and I like pumpkin beers and that is why I was so surprised to dislike it so much.

      On the contrary, I am not a fan of most fest beers or sam adams yet I really really liked their oktoberfest.

      1. re: yankeefan

        This is a couple of weeks too late, I suppose, but are you sure you got this year's Hacker-Pschorr (sadly, some distributors will send their previous year's stock to unsuspecting retailers so you have to be careful with O'fests in general)? Personally I found it to be a return to form, quite toasty and malty.

        Sierra Nevada Celebration was most definitely a home run this year- I've been enjoying the heck out of it (and probably will continue to do so until my local shop runs out).

        1. re: TongoRad

          This year's Celebration really is good -- the best since '04, to my mind.

          1. re: Kenji

            I just had a few of this year's Celebration. Outstanding to say the least. the fresh hop bite really jumps out at you. Really a fresh hop lover's dream. I will be drinking a lot few of these while fresh.

            Kenji and Tongo, I definitely agree with you guys, this year's version may be one of if not THE best yet.

            1. re: MVNYC

              Had it on tap, it was astounding. I love that it's a super-hoppy beer, not a spiced ale or standard winter ale.

              1. re: lpfaf

                Yeah. And even though SNCA is robustly hopped, it's got that juicy-tasting malt to hold the hops up.

                Sierra Nevada has just come out with a new bottled brew, an ESB, which they cleverly subtitle "Early Spring Beer." I can't wait to try it.

                1. re: Kenji

                  Had the ESB, didnt like it too much.

                  However, the beers of the season so far have been Bells Hopslam and Troegs Nugget Nectar. Both over the top delicious.

    2. I am also a fan of the Mad Elf (although he has won most of our battles). This weekend, I saw a 101oz flip-top bottle of it for about $75!

      I'm not sure how many friends it would take to polish that one off.

      1. You certainly tried a lot of great beers!

        I've enjoyed Anchor Christmas and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale off of your list. For late seasonal stuff I've also enjoyed Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, and Stone Double Bastard Ale. Just had the Double Bastard this weekend, it was fantastic.

        I can't get any of the Troeg stuff where I am in upstate NY. I'm seriously thinking about making a road trip down to PA just to pick some up. I've heard too many great things about them!


        1 Reply
        1. re: tjason1

          On my beer trading, the Mad Elf is always a top request. It is ridiculous this year.

          Funny you mention, I literally just picked up the Double Bastard today and look forward to putting that bad boy away tomorrow night- sticking to my Elf tonight.

        2. I am patiently waiting for Bell's Hopslam. My local specialty liquor store says they have it on order but the Bell's web site says January.

          1. I liked the Dogfish Punkin (had it at a tasting with some cheese pairings - very nice).

            Last night we were at a Harpoon tasting. I liked the Winter Warmer (very cinnamon and clove, like pie). But I liked the Brown Session Ale much better. Very malty. It made me feel warm.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LNG212

              The Dogfish Punkin is a more successful spiced ale than the Harpoon because it's not so overloaded with spices and because it's got a more robust malt base. In Harpoon's winter brew, all I taste is cinnamon and sugar. Anchor's spiced Christmas beer is usually better still; their blend of spices tends to be subtle and interesting.