Drew (2470) - Kent, Ohio, USA - DEC 4, 2002
UPDATED: DEC 3, 2003 Farther on the malty side, this is a nicely made winter brew. I like the caramel/spice combination. Fruit peeks in now and then, whispers of hops. nice. JPDIPSO (6286) - Wauwatosa, USA - DEC 4, 2002
UPDATED: NOV 18, 2009 4 Dec. 2002 - Bright orange amber color, with a medium dark cream color head. Heavy special B malt and hopsack aromas. Slight licorice aromas in background. Aroma almost distracts from the flavors as you quaff. Orange citric flavors along with dry malts and mild fruit. Some sharpness in the finish. Almost too rich, but a nice holiday treat.
18 Nov. 2009 - Bottle indicates that the recipe changes every year. I taste and smell some minor differences. My guess this year has a bit of rye, but that is just my guess. Very drinkable, but still a bit sharp in the finish. dlclark (73) - Bloomington, Illinois, USA - DEC 2, 2002
Just tried this brew for the first time and it's very satisfying. Nice hops, malt balance with seasonal spice. This beer isn't nearly as hoppy as Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale but it's cheap and damn good. ElGaucho (2401) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - DEC 1, 2002
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2006 12/16/06: Re-rate. This brew has typically been pretty similar year to year but this year’s version is a departure. As such, I believe it should be split out from previous vintages, as should be the case with all seasonals that change recipes yearly. Wonderful roasted chocolate malt aroma with a distinctively strong aromatic hop profile. I gave it a 10 for aroma before; despite the fact that this is a different brew, I can’t argue with that rating. Very dark, reddish brown. No longer a clear body, GICA is now hazy. The hop in the nose translates to the palate, although perhaps not to the full degree. Small, light tan head that leaves a thin layer throughout the experience. There is lace, but it is sporadic. This year’s version seems more chocolaty, although it retains some of the characteristics of earlier versions, primarily the nice hop finish. A really nice brew. I might dock it a point or two from my previous rating, but because this is a different beer, and because vintages don’t have their own pages, I don’t want to detract from the genius of the earlier brews. I have gotten after the brewmaster before for tweaking what was a perfect Oktoberfest recipe back in 2001. He has done it again. At least this time, the brew went from outstanding to still great, whereas the O’fest went from extraordinary to simply above average. 12/1/02: The folks at Goose Island sure know how to make a seasonal! Similar in flavor to their excellent Oktoberfest, but with more hops and less malt. The aroma is second to none, with heavy pefumed hops hinting at the wonderful brew to come. Small, off-white head, with fair lacing. Head is mostly diminishing. Clear, dark red body. Taste is moderately sweet and heavily bitter...though very drinkable. Finish is long in duration. Medium to full bodied..improves as it warms. Very good! booyaatribe (453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 30, 2002
Well done. Nice rich maltiness, spiciness, and good hops too...............
proc (342) - Dearborn, Michigan, USA - NOV 21, 2002
A very nice Christmas offering. Pours out to a dark ruby in the glass with a decent head. The aroma had a slight yeast smell to it with light fruit. Taste is very malty with a slight plum taste. A good beer to enjoy on a cold evening.
raindog (560) - Evansville, Indiana, USA - NOV 19, 2002
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2003 2002:Dark oarnge with a fat,dense,head.Strong piney hop aromas. Belgian malts,toasty,fruity,alcohol aromas as well.Palate seems a bit light.Little more malt with those hops.Strong fruity,sweet malts,toasty mouth.Finish is bittersweet with a touch of alcohol almost giving it a vinous effect.Mind you this is probably about 70deg.now.Well,for 6.29 a sixer,20 a case,you can't beat this.Darn good deal. boto (2263) - Granby, Connecticut, USA - NOV 18, 2002
UPDATED: MAR 15, 2005 12oz. bottle: This beer pours a clear, caramel color. Mine had very little head on it. The aroma is a little nutty and spicy, as well as having some roasted malts in there. The taste is somewhat roasty, nutty, spicy, with a little hopiness thrown in the background. A nice brew. Slick (1969) - Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA - NOV 16, 2002
I can't help i love Christmas and these seasonal brews are just like family on the holidays.You can definately taste the spices good head nice dark color nice balance and a good spicy aftertaste that doeasn't get to overpowering something that fits under the tree quite well TAR (2787) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - NOV 14, 2002
UPDATED: MAY 4, 2005 2002: Pours with an attractive, round bubbled, bottle conditioned foam with moderate retention. English hops were the first to grab my nose. Immediately following are heavy doses of ginger, mint, cedar, hint of bubblegum, and herbal-like medicinal notes. Flavors are notably complex. Spices are in the forefront, then comes the hint of piney hop, underlying nutty malt and chocolate/caramel, maple, and a hint of rye. Finishes with substantial piney hop burps and both toasted/candied malt flavors simultaneously. Decently assembled, albeit unadventurous for a winter brew.