Whether you want to admit it or not, the holidays are nearly upon us. Thankfully folks like those over at Lompoc have been brewing up some delicious hop juice to help us get through the season.
Earlier this week I had a chance to try out eight beers that will be released the first week of December. They ran the gamut from lager to porter, Belgian to Imperial IPA and included two that utilized local sour pie cherries. It's no surprise that the hop-forward, piney C-Sons Greetings was a favorite. Many consider this beer to be Lompoc's flagship seasonal and it is one of only two of the holiday seasonal offerings that will be bottled.
Going to another end of the flavor spectrum, Holiday Cheer, a robust vanilla porter, was delightfully roasty with a lingering chocolate flavor. The presence of the beer in this year's holiday lineup will be good news for some and sad news for others as it means that 8 Malty Nights will be sitting out until next year. I would argue that even if you're sad about 8 Malty Nights, you should give this one a chance, especially if there's any to be found on nitro.
The tasting also offered a side-by-side comparison of Old Tavern Rat and Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat. The beers, named for none other than the original tavern rat, Don Younger, are 9+% ABV barleywines. While I generally prefer BBAs, in this comparison I found the non-BBA more pleasing and if you trust my palate you'll be happy to know that this is the other one that will be available in bottles.
With the variety of seasonal offerings from Lompoc there's sure to be one that you'll enjoy as well as one your buddy, your Uncle Joe or your sister-in-law Amy will be happy to tip back. So stop in at Lompoc starting the first week in December, check out their beer at the Holiday Ale Festival and enjoy.