Beer Flights for Your Holidays

Lately I’ve preferred drinking small 4oz pours of 3-5 different beers rather than a larger pour of a single beer. Being able to compare and contrast multiple beers makes it easier to suss out the distinctive character of each individual beer. I’ve also found when I drink less when I drink mindfully.

The big box stores have released their holiday hours, Amazon is counting down to Black Friday, Vita.mn has released their Minnesota six-pack, and I’m studying up for a BJCP tasting exam. Roll that all together and I’ve had holiday beer flights on the brain. Each of the 6 flights below is designed for diversity and distinctiveness. I trust it will introduce you and yours to something new and interesting (and maybe even look at something familiar in a new way). All the beers were purchased in either MN or WI, though some are easier to find than others.

History Flight

Four pale, crisp, refreshing beers highlighting a brewing technique or ingredient that was once far more popular than it is today. Compare and contrast the tartness from the yeast, spicy from the hops & herbs, and the diversity in carbonation levels.

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
Antwerpse Brouw Seef (Belgium) 81
Olvalde Rise of the Burghers and the Fall of the Feudal Lords (MN) NA
Schell Star of the North (MN) 95
Orval (Belgium) 94

Hop Flight

The full spectrum of hop forward American pale ales. Notice the differences in malt sweetness and how the hop bitterness and citrusy hop aroma keeps ahead of it.

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (CA) 95
Ballast Point Big Eye (CA) 91
Indeed Day Tripper (MN) 90
21st Amendment Bitter American (CA) 87

Dark Flight

In these four big, dark beers look for roasted coffee, dark chocolate, prunes, and assertive alcohol presence. Compare the differences in smoke and roasted grains. Discuss with your companions whether or not you enjoy the 2 with peated malt (I do).

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (MA) 83
Boulevard Dark Truth (MO) 89
Fulton Worthy Adversary (MN) 93
Brouwerij De Molen Hemel & Aarde (Belgium) 89

Farmhouse Flight

From traditional to clearly American, these 4 beers interpret a rustic, complex, and refreshingly dry style. Compare and contrast the hop aromas and spicy yeast characters. Look for the ‘wild’ yeast character common in this style.

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace (NY) 92
Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (MO) 93
Hopothesis Drafty Window (IL) NA
Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont (Belgium) 93

Sour Flight

These four beers will stand up against any red wine at your holiday table. Like wine, they’re complex in aroma and flavor. Compare and contrast the levels of carbonation and prominence of dark fruit. Look for oak, tobacco, vanilla, and red-wine-esque tannins.

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobin Rouge (Belgium) 96
Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne (Belgium) 92
Rodenbach Grand Cru (Belgium) 95
Odell The Meddler (CO) 89

Cellar Flight

These are big beers, happily set down in a cool, dark, cellar and brought out for a celebration. Compare and contrast prominence of alcohol warmth and hop aroma. Discuss which beer is most reminds you of fruitcake. Look for caramel, oak, and comfortable place to sit down.

Beer (Origin) BeerAdvocate Score
North Coast Old Stock Ale (CA) 92
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine (CA) 93
Avery Samael’s Ale (CO) 87
Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus Classic (Austria) 89

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