Beer Details: Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon (Strong Ale, 6.7% ABV, 60 IBU)
Appearance: Deep dark russet brown with an cappuccino-colored head of ridiculously frothy foam. Left some some ladders of lacing down the glass.
Aroma: Mmmm! Spice cake, brown sugar, and orange zest
Taste: This ale is definitely malty, but also much more bitter than I was expecting. There's a hit of robust molasses and winter baking spices upfront (cardamom, clove, and cinnamon), which tips over into a complex jumble of chicory, charred wood, and bitter citrus zest. This is a medium-bodied beer with a refreshing crispness — not unlike being slapped awake by the cold the second you step out of your warm and cozy house.
Food Pairings: I love this one with food. Not only is its earthy spiciness a nice compliment to almost any holiday meal, but I find that food helps to cut the bitterness (which otherwise tends to build over several sips and out-balance the malts). I had it with a hearty bowl of bean and barley soup, and I recommend it with any winter stew.
(Image: Emma Christensen)