So, 2013 shaped up to be a big year for Saranac, and you know, it looks like it was. The brewery celebrated its 125th anniversary and released a new specialty beer, Saranac Legacy IPA. I never saw Legacy IPA hit store shelves down here in Georgia (for some reason we don’t get much in the way of Saranac down here anymore). I did, though, stumble upon a 12-pack sampler the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter collection.
As I said, we don’t see Saranac beers down here all that often, and I haven’t seen the 12 Beers of Winter Collection for a few years. Then too, with the 2013 12-pack I did find, it wasn’t until January of 2014 that I found it at Sherlock’s on Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw. I’ve heard rumblings that Saranac beers are going up in price, but this was still very reasonable at $13.98 for the 12-pack.
This year’s Saranac 12 beers of Winter Sampler features two beers each of six styles, including three new beers: Moonshadow Black IPA, Decoction Concoction, and the beer I’m drinking tonight, Saranac Rudy’s Spiced Christmas Ale. If you like it a lot, Rudy's is available in six packs as well.
Extra points for calling it a Christmas Ale. On the label, Saranac Rudy’s Spiced Christmas Ale is described as an “ale brewed with spices”. Well, I think we already figured that out. The beer is further described thusly: “This amber ale’s ingredients list reads like a Christmas cookie. A malty, slightly spicy, slightly sweet treat that complements any meal”. The beer has an alcohol content of 6% by volume.
Saranac Rudy’s Spiced Christmas Ale pours to a brilliant golden color with moderate head formation of tightly packed bubbles and a soft spicy nose of dry nutmeg. Taking a sip, the beer has a medium body up front with just a bit of caramel, a noticeable buttered toast character, and lots of dry spice, mostly nutmeg to me and perhaps some cinnamon, mace and allspice. The spices really dry in the finish and make this very drinkable, a beer that would pair well with holiday fare like turkey or beef quite nicely.
I don’t get the sweetness described on the label, and I do get a lot more spice than “slightly spicy” allows for, still, that’s a good thing here, because I think all that drying spice goes wonderfully well with that appetizing buttered toast malt and yeast character. At just a little over $1 a bottle, this beer is a bargain, too.
Good old Rudy the Red Nosed reindeer makes an appearance on the label here. One can only hops Rudy’s Spiced Christmas Ale makes a repeat appearance next year.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.