Wednesday, April 19, 2006

REVIEW : FULL SAIL WASSAIL ALE

Sure, it's "the most wonderful time of the year" for all sorts of other reasons, mostly the freebie days off and the fact that everyone clears out of the office so you can screw around on the internet for 8 hours -- but the Christmas season is especially joyous for the abundance of holiday beer it brings. I've always felt like I might not really be a true beer snob because I love these ales so friggin' much, and that since they're "spiced" or tarted-up concoctions, they must not be as aesthetically pure as, say, directly lapping up sediment from a Belgian monestary vat. But to hell with all that, as Santa Claus says -- let's drink! Last year I was a total wuss when it came to holiday beers, only sampling a mere 4 the whole season (!) - Alaskan's, Anchor's, Rogue's, and this one from FULL SAIL, the annual Wassail Ale, a brew that has pleased me in the past. I had one left over in the garage this week, and decided to sit down and evaluate it critically. This year's WASSAIL was exceptionally dark, with a very rich head that vanished fairly quickly (unfortunately). It had a fairly strong kick of alcohol in the taste that wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but the rich malty feel & dry taste of the hops made up for that. It looks like a chocolate beer (just look at it!), and sort of tastes like one too. Maybe not quite up to the snuff of a typical American West Coast Xmas beer, but at 6.5/10, it beat Alaskan and Rogue this year and only missed beating out Anhor by a nose.

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