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Sweetwater Tavern Happy Trails Christmas Ale

Sweetwater Tavern Happy Trails Christmas Ale
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RATINGS: 17   MEAN: 2.86/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.87/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 204   ABV: 6.8%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
rich, spiced strong ale...deep copper in color.


2.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
obguthr (5424) - Staunton, Virginia, USA - JAN 8, 2016
Aroma of M&Ms, peanut butter, and pencil shavings, likely from the horrid rim job to which the poor glass was subjected. Aside from said rim job, the beer is a relatively clear amber, with random particulate from the garbage clinging from the rim occasionally falling into the beer and sinking to their demise at the bottom, no head but a slurry of flotsam, again originating from the disaster on the rim. Pumpkin? Traces of spices. Someone tell me they didn’t try to just dress up the fall’s unsold pumpkin beer in wintry clothes. Medium body, easy carbonation. Not infected.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GenDV138 (5511) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - DEC 27, 2015
~5 oz pour on draft at Sweetwater Tavern Merrifield. Clear amber with beige head, plus unfortunate garnish around the rim. Aromas of spice, light malt. Tastes of spice, light caramel, brown sugar, a little malt. Medium-light body with a dry finish. Decent, at least the spice isn’t over the top like some Christmas beers.

2.9
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
jrob21 (3367) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 23, 2013
On tap at the source. Serves with a weird spiced salt of some sort. Never had that before. After that a bit of a spicey nutty and malty drink. Goes down easy but relatively unremarkable or memorable.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
BeerandBlues2 (11860) - Escondido, California, USA - JAN 30, 2013
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.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Drake (11500) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JAN 4, 2013
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.

1.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
vmilaxer29 (412) - Virginia, USA - DEC 31, 2007
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.

2
   AROMA 2/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 8/20
bombshelter (349) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 22, 2007
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.

2.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
wj94 (69) - Virginia, USA - DEC 21, 2007
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!

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
radagast83 (6962) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - DEC 13, 2007
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.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 19, 2006
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.


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