(2009) 12 Beers of Christmas, beer 9: Black Diamond Brewing Company’s Winter Ale

Black Diamond Winter Ale

Snow is covering the southern California peaks and temperatures in Orange County now dip below 40 degrees. Christmas is nearly upon us and it’s the perfect time to grab our next beer, which has all the fruit and sweetness of a holiday treat, blended with the spiciness of noble hops… simply a great Belgian-style Abbey Dubbel.

Black Diamond Brewing Company has accomplished much in its 15 year history. Starting as a brewpub in 1994 in Walnut Creek, CA, BDBC now resides in Concord, CA, and focuses solely on brewing beer. While many restaurants may tap Black Diamond Winter Ale, in Orange County it can’t be easier than picking up a 6-pack for less than $7 at Bevmo with your ClubBev card. (The Winter Ale is also distributed at Whole Foods and Longs). Black Diamond is well-known for its Belgian inspired beer. In fact, in the 2008 World Beer Cup the brewery was awarded a silver medal for its Belgian Blonde.

As you’d guess, the Winter Ale is a seasonal. At first sip you can immediately taste the Dubbel caramel malt and the spicy Noble hops, as well as the unique Belgian yeast. Despite the 7.2% ABV, it has a surprisingly minimal alcohol taste, and the flavors are well complemented with a nice medium body and great mouth feel. It has a pleasant reddish-brown color and a complex sweet aroma that would pair well with a variety of rich grilled meats and steaks, as well as a fresh honey-baked ham.

Overall, the Black Diamond Winter Ale is a welcome addition to the Christmas table, is available at a great price, and will no doubt help you and your holiday guests enjoy these southern California cold spells.

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