Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bridgeport Brewing Company's Ebenezer Ale

With the holidays quickly approaching, craft brewers have begun to roll out their Christmas Ales, Holiday Ales, and Winter Ales.  I have reviewed a few of them last year, such as the Great Lakes Christmas Ale, the Abita Christmas Ale and the Breuwerij Huyghe Delirium Noel.  This year, it is Bridgeport Brewing Company's Ebenezer Ale. 

Bridgeport Brewery is Oregon's oldest craft brewery. The origins of the brewery lie with one of the families in Oregon's well established wine movement, the Ponzis.  Richard and Nancy Ponzi worked with brewer Karl Ockert to establish Columbia River Brewing in 1984.  Columbia River Brewing eventually became Bridgeport Brewing Company.  Today, Bridgeport Brewing Company has grown in size and capacity, producing more than 100,000 barrels of beer per year.

My beautiful Angel and I visited the Bridgeport Brewpub and Bakery during our honeymoon. When I planned our honeymoon, it was to be a foodie, craft beer and wine experience.  The craft beer part of the experience appropriately began with the first craft brewer in Oregon.  We stopped in for a couple of beers, such as the India Pale Ale and the Blue Heron.  We both enjoyed the beers a lot.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to enjoy Bridgeport beers since our honeymoon because the craft brewer does not distribute to the East Coast.  However, I was able to find Bridgeport Brewing Company's Ebenezer Ale during a recent trip to Chicago.  So, I bought a six pack for the holiday. 

The Ebenezer Ale is a beer produced in the Winter Warmer Ale.  The brewer uses four different roasted malts and a few different hops. The beer pours an orangish-brown in color with a thin layer of foam.  The aroma of the beer highlights the roasted malts, with hints of the hops.  There is also an aroma of caramel.  The taste of the beer suggests cinnamon and, perhaps, a faint cardamom, nutmeg and/or clove flavor.    The flavors of this beer are lighter and more subtle than I expected.  This is not a bad thing, because it provides a contrast to other holiday ales or winter warmers that I have tried. 

Generally speaking, winter warmer ales are meant to be enjoyed alone, not necessarily paired with food.  These ales are usually a digestive, enjoyed after a good meal. Nevertheless, if you have some Christmas cookies, there is nothing wrong with having a couple with a beer like the Ebenezer Ale. 

Bridgeport Brewing Company's Ebenezer Ale has an ABV of 6.4% with an IBU of 40.  I found this beer at a Binny's outside of Chicago, Illinois, where a six-pack sold for about $8.99.


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