I’ve always enjoyed Lompoc beers. Many sunny afternoons have been misspent sitting on the porch at New Old Lompoc, and I’ve had quite a few pleasant cool-downs from soccer and riding at Hedge House and the brilliantly named 5th Quadrant. Tuesday the good people of Lompoc held a tasting event for their holiday beers, and it did not disappoint.
Eric and I arrived early and snagged seats at the bar. From there I was able to snag good glassware and chat up the bartenders (who also happened to be brewers, owners, or Dave). And it was pole position for grabbing the freshly poured samples. Which were ample.
Did I mention they only released 10 different holiday beers this year? Ranging from the mellow Blitzen to the potent C-sons Greetings, from Jolly Bock to Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat (thanks Don!), and a few outliers like the Brewdolph and Cherry Christman. And to make Mr. Sandler happy, the 8 Malty Nights was offered for the Chanukah consumers.
**Blitzen – **very light for an xmas ale, some nice holiday infusions of cinnamon, clove, lemon, and ginger. Cinnamon aromatics. Really not much more than a wheaty pale with a light citrus ginger, but for my taste it’ll sit nicely between heavier holiday ales.
Zach wanted to have a lighter holiday beer so he concocted fool’s golden w/ spices. Infused by xferring through corny this year.
Nose: light clove and citrus. A session holiday ale. The food really brings it out.
**Cherry Christmas **
****messing around with wine barrels, bourbon barrel for the last several years.
base: golden, fermented in steel w/ sour cherries + sour willie. released 11/29. This will be the holiday ale beer. light, fruity, maybe a little sour.
Brian’s favorite. belgian red, balanced, Ardennes yeast. spicy, clove flavor. Heavy clove nose. No adjuncts, amazing amount of clove. Slightly sharp finish. Lets you know you’re alive.
Milder holiday ale with big body and full spice, based on the vanilla porter. Sits on vanilla beans. Use whole beans for real flavor.
holiday lager. huge 7.3% malty. caramel, a bit sweet, super drinkable 7.3 beer.
I really enjoyed this. It had that nice crispness of a lager, and was really not overpowering despite the 7.3%. I don’t know what the final gravity was but it finished nice and clean.
Based on C-note, C-sons greetings basically upped the ante in every way. 100 IBUs. Every 7 hops in the kettle, and every 7 in the fermenter for a dry hop in the C-sons.
Hearing Jerry talk about the original C-note was pretty fun. It was too strong back in the day. “If I can’t have 3 beers without lunch, it’s too much for your clienteele” Based on c-note. The name is based on 7 C-hops like centennial, cascade, and chinook used to make C-note (what there were of C-names at the time).
Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings
nose gives the bourbon barrel. This was a fine beer, but I didn’t find the barrel did a whole lot to the flavor, since it tempered the hops quite a bit.
Old Tavern Rat
named after Don Younger, but “he would F***ing hate this beer”. cellared for a year prior to release. collaboration of Brian and Zach. English style barley wine, not overhopped. Sweet, but nicely balanced.
**Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat **
great beer. sweetcake barley wine, super nice bourbon vanilla, creamy body, lingers just enough to know it cares. I’m not typically a fan of barley wines, but I took three bottles of this home with me.
8 malty nights
chocolate rye porter. This one was still pretty green, having just been pulled out of the fermenter to offer us all a taste and a preview. That’s the kind of event this was…sorta, hey, check out the fun stuff we’re working on now! Which is awesome.
Overall, it was a really nice evening. Jerry, Dave, and the brewers shared tons of stories and secrets. Everyone laughed a bunch. Good times were had, along with plenty of beer.