Brew Reviews – Christmas Beers at 26 Degree Brewing @26Brewing

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I finally got around to writing the beers that I had before Christmas.

First of all, I’m busy.

Second of all, if you didn’t know what they were doing anyway, why not? It’s fun to see what Yonathan and his team are bringing to Florida’s craft beer community.

And apparently what was brought was Santa Claus.

Yes, 26 Degree Brewing in Pompano Beach had a visit from Santa Claus, which means I rounded up my family and producer Steve rounded up his family and off we went.

Did we spend a little bit of time with Santa? Yes.

Did he spend a little bit more of his time hitting on some of the women at the bar with a beer in his hand? Yes.

Was that sort of awesome to see him playing cornhole? Do you even need to ask?

But since it was a clearly special occasion, a whole new crop of beers arrived as well:

Peppermint Lager (Lager, 4.2% ABV) is actually their Thirst Control lager, treated with an insane amount of peppermint. This brings the beer to where it has the right, nasal clearing flavors of peppermint, but without the sugary syrupy sweetness of those candies at the bottom of your grandmother’s purse. Nice and light, but beware: this one could definitely torture taste buds after a couple quick pints.

Tigers Blood (Gose, 5.1% ABV), a light gose treated with strawberry, coconut, and watermelon. This was an amazingly refreshing beer, and tastes just like a strawberry Jolly Rancher. Incredibly flavorful, incredibly light, with just the tiniest touch of sour pucker to it. This could easily be a hardcore year-round beer for them, and I would welcome this heartily.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Ziko’s Rage (Imperial Stout, 8% ABV, 40 IBU) Let’s be honest, Ziko’s Rage is a massively massive kind of a beer that can be a bit much for some people.

Myself included.

My wife loves it, though. She enjoys the heavier stuff, whereas I am a massive total lightweight.

So when they had a bourbon barrel-aged version of Ziko, I knew that it was going to be perfect for her. Whereas I would run screaming for the hills.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastically produced Imperial Stout. Ziko’s Rage is as solid as it gets, with big notes of chicory and roasted coffee. The bourbon barrel aging adds so much more, as you get this beautiful vanilla oaky finish that accentuates a light and musky bourbon quality to it. It touches on the malt just a bit, enough to where it’s noticeable, but not so much to where it’s the only thing you taste. For a beer meant to be gigantic, there are some wonderful touches of moderation. Still too much for me, though.

Liquid Abstract (American Strong Ale, 9.4% ABV) is a collaboration with Crazy Uncle Mike’s in Boca, one that 26 Degree owner Yonathan Ghersi made sure to tell me I should try. I did (obviously), and I’ll tell you it was an interesting drinking experience, one I have not had before and would love to have again.

Think of it as if someone took a coffee blond ale and dialed it up to 11.

The base of the beer is strong and chewy, with an almost caramel-like profile, but still light enough in body to where the flavors don’t get syrupy. True to that, there’s a light dusting of vanilla and chocolate, bringing desserty notes to a beer that’s never really been desserty before.

Plus there’s that coffee, whose slight bitterness and sweetness really combine quite interestingly with the darker sweetness from the caramel malt. In the end, the beer does a lot of things in a lot of places, but all of them fairly well.

So there we go. Was Santa actually hitting on women? Let’s be honest, probably not. But it makes for a good article and the beers being as good as they are definitely didn’t hurt either.

In the meantime we’ll see how long it takes before a Valentine’s Day beer comes on this blog.

Fourth of July?

Drink Florida Craft,


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