You don’t see a ton of imperial stouts, barleywines and barrel-aged beers being released in the middle of July. But, this time of year is perfect for these special releases. Quite a few highly-anticipated beers have hit shelves recently or are coming soon. If you are looking for Christmas gifts for that special beer geek in your life, any of these would do just fine.
Big Time Old Wooly Barleywine – This annual favorite was just released this past Saturday, and it is tasting great this year. Per the Big Time Twitter feed: “Lots of hops this year. 3lbs Columbus, Millennium, Cascade, Centennial.” Available on draft and in 22oz bottles at the brewery while supplies last.
Fremont Bourbon Barrel Abominable – Better known to many as “B-Bomb”, this is a bourbon barrel-aged version of their Abominable Winter Ale. It’s one of my favorite locally-brewed barrel-aged beers. The brewery says, “This year’s vintage has captured our imagination and we are excited to share it with you; heavy on the roast chocolate, bourbon, and oak and toned down vanilla compared to last year. Happy Holidays and thank you for sharing our Barrel Adventures, Because Beer Matters!” This was just released on Monday at the brewery, and hopefully they still have some left. It runs $15 per 22oz bottle, with a limit of 4 bottles per person/day.
Hale’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy – This was one of my favorite releases of last year, and I can’t wait to try it again. They are having a release party at the brewery on December 13 where you can try it on draft and get a special price on 22oz bottles of it. This should also be available at select retailers around the area as well.
Firestone Walker XVI – The annual anniversary blend beers from California’s Firestone Walker Brewing are hands down some of the best bottled liquids you will find anywhere. These are in high demand across the country, but lucky for us Seattle gets very good distribution on these usually. This should start hitting local retailers this week, I believe. Full Throttle Bottles might even be pouring samples of this at a tasting with Firestone Walker tonight.
The Bruery 5 Golden Rings – This is the fifth installment of the “12 Days of Christmas” annual winter seasonal ale releases from The Bruery, located in Placentia, CA. This 11.5% ABV golden ale is spiced, sweet and fruity. Drink it now, or save it until 2019 when they release 12 Drummers Drumming. Available in 750ml bottles in limited amounts at local retailers.
Deschutes The Abyss – This big, bad imperial stout from the Bend, OR brewery has become the stuff legends are made of in the NW. If you like bold stouts, then make sure to seek out this gem. This was released in 22oz bottles a week or two ago, but you can still find it at local retailers for now. Don’t count on that for long, though. I’ve also seen it on draft at a few places around town.
I also wanted to include the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout on this list. Sadly, it sounds like we won’t be seeing this in Seattle for now. It was originally reported that this gem of an imperial stout was due to hit Washington on November 27, but it is nowhere to be seen and I’ve been told by several people that Goose Island has no intentions of sending it out here yet, if at all. This makes me sad.