BeerandBlues2 (8556) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - JAN 30, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Tap at Sweetwater Merrifield. Pours clear dark amber with a medium, frothy off-white head, medium retention with light lacing. Aroma is caramel and cookie malt with juniper berries, pine and resin hops with date and fig esters. Flavor is malt dominant with light hops and bitterness, moderate spices, dark fruity esters and a sweet finish. Full body and medium carbonation.
Drake (7123) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JAN 4, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Served on draft at the Sterling location. Pours a clear golden color with a thin creamy tan head. Good head retention. Aroma of toasted malts, spice. The taste is herbal and citrus hops. fruit and spice. Medium bodied.
vmilaxer29 (397) - North Dakota, USA - DEC 31, 2007
1.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 2/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 7/20
This beer was way too sweet and not what I was expecting from a Sweetwater beer. A good malty aroma, but poor aftertaste that kind of made me feel like vomiting.
bombshelter (349) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 22, 2007
2 AROMA 2/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
On tap at the Brickskeller Winter tasting, 12/19/07. Amber. Aroma is a bevy of cinnamon and other spice: pumpkin pie, anyone? Not terrible, but way over-spiced. Tone it down, guys.
wj94 (69) - Virginia, USA - DEC 21, 2007
2.3 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Holy crap this was bad....and that’s saying something because I’m a huge fan of Sweetwater’s beers. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too sweet this year. I think this year’s version is a completely different beer than last year because I drank two growlers of the previous one but couldn’t even finish half a beer of the ’07 version. Aroma is very sweet, taste is the same, but too sweet in a cough-syrup way. Tasted like cherry cough syrup mixed with some lemon and spices. Not good - bring on the Imperial Stout already!
radagast83 (3794) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - DEC 13, 2007
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: JAN 6, 2009 Tap at Merrifield location. Absolutely intriguing beer to say the least.
When the beer is served the pint glass is covered in a candy/cookie layer. Aroma is full of spice notes and a detectable amount of bubble gum. Flavor is sweet, and not just due to the crumble on the rim of the glass.
The beer does have a nice malt and hop balance, and just the right amount of carbonation. I’d say that this beer is better as a desert, and I couldn’t see myself getting more than one of these at a time, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having this one again before it’s gone.
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 19, 2006
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draught at Centreville. Pint glass rimmed with some sort of cookie/candy crumble. Medium amber body and fading sudsy white head. Wild potpourri aroma with mulling spice impressions, a solid note of cardomom, and chocolate and mint notes. Flavor has toasty crystal malts and notable spice character. My interpretation is that this is basically a spiced amber ale. I wish Sweetwater Tavern would balance the obvious commercial interests with a little more craft.
TheBeerLover (1019) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 25, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Happy Trails pours to a beautiful, bright, garnet color with a nice tan head, and a moderate carbonation. The nose on this beer is really wonderful. Rich, sweet malt and toasty aromas marry with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The palate is rich and malty. Flavors of sweet malt, toast, nuts, are firm on the palate, with a back drop of spice. Flavors of ginger and nutmeg dance on the tongue. The body is hefty and satisfying, this is a very comforting beer. Happy Trails finishes as happy as it started, more sweet malt and toasty flavor up front, with a warming, high octane burn and flavors of spice that linger.
This beer is a real treat. This beer would make an excellent one to pair with desert, or to have as your first drink while waiting for your food. Sweet Water puts on a real nice touch when ordering this beer. They rim the glass(like one would rim a margarita glass with salt) with a pumpkin seed garnish which consists of crush roasted pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. This is optional of course, I had one with the pumpkin garnish and enjoyed the extra "sugar and spice", and it really didn’t get in the way of the flavors of the beer itself. I savored my second pint(no garnish) of this wonderful Holiday Ale and really worked on this beer. Anyone who will be visiting the DC Metro Area during the Holiday Season, make it a point to go to Sweet Water Tavern to try this exceptional brew. Happy Trails to you!
Pailhead (4242) - Brownstown, Michigan, USA - DEC 30, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap: Nice ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon aroma, but the top of the glass is coated with a mixture of spices, so this isn’t all from the beer. Transparent light amber without much of a head. Lightly spicey with ginger and nutmeg when you are drinking strictly the beer. Much stronger spice with some cinnamon when you drink the beer with the spices on the glass. Light bitterness in the finish.
blank (996) - Austin, Texas, USA - DEC 15, 2005
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
I think the 05 version is a bit off. I got the lemongrass flavor they mentioned, but there was something else weird that bothered me. Just an ok beer at best.