Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Holiday beer time! Man, did that sneak up on me; it means a frenzy of buying and trying is upon us, and you can expect HBJ’ll on the front lines of whatever the 2007 holiday beer season has to throw at us. The big news of the ‘07 season so far is a whopper: DESCHUTES BREWING ’s perennial winner JUBEL ALE hits a bum note, maybe for the first time ever! I’ve been buying a bottle or more of this annually for god knows how many years now, and last year, 2006, I thought it was pretty much the belle of the holiday beer ball. I decided to try it first this year, before any of the others, because I reckoned it would not be my last taste of it by a long shot. Now I must reconsider. Allow me to elaborate.

JUBEL ALE 2007 tastes like a “broken batch”, like something that was too far gone to keep from bottling with fingers crossed. Way too hoppy, with a punch of strong malts to back it up – a total tongue-tingling holiday hop monster, without any subtlety, and far too much bitterness. Strong tastes of toffee and figs, but these are aftertastes left in the mouth after the watery brew has gone unpleasantly down the pipes. I dare say it was almost a “pour-out”. Let’s talk about the positives, though, because I normally love JUBEL ALE. First, everyone gets to have an off year. This year it’s DESCHUTES’ turn – now you have a little extra room for a holiday ale you’ve never tried before. Second, the label might be the coolest one I’ve ever seen – sort of like Paul Klee does Christmas. Very nice. Makes me almost want to forgive the fact that Jubel Ale ’07 = 4.5/10! Ouch!


Anonymous said...

I'm super bummed ot hear this. Deschutes has become my favorite all-around brewery because their beers are so well rounded. Last year's JubelAle was my favorite xmas beer i think too.

I think that Sierra Celebration totally missed the mark this year too. Its an ok beer, but didn't seem too far off from the Anniversary. Too light and too hoppy and too flat to be a warming holiday beer. It's always one of the more lighter/drinkable xmas ales, but it seemed even less xmas-y than usual.

love your blog!

Steve said...

Man I am drinking one of these right now and am highly disappointed (I really liked last year's and Deschutes is one of my fav. breweries). I get a different impression from the taste than you did but still very disappointing.

Bill said...

It's funny how there's no accounting for tastes. For me, 2007 is the best batch for the last few years (my experience only goes back to 2003).

Totally agree with anonymous about Celebration -- the pint I had didn't seem right.