November 14, 2017
Contributor: Jordan Randell

When purchasing seasonal beers, I’m always worried about encountering beers with gimmicky, overpowering flavors. With the need to be unique and interesting, breweries tend to lean heavily on holiday tropes, forgoing balance to provide in-your-face flavors that may not really belong. However, when I sat down to drink Wynchwood Brewery’s Brewdolph and Bah Humbug along with Greene King’s Festive Pudding Ale, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Wychwood Brewery, based out of Oxfordshire, England, is well-known for the fantasy-based artwork embroidering its labels. I decided to pick up its two seasonal releases for the Christmas season, Brewdolph and Bah Humbug.

Starting off with Brewdolph, a light beer described by the brewery as a “Golden Xmas Beer”, and one I expected to be the most balanced of the trio, I was immediately let down by the all-too-familiar aroma of a basic lager. The plain, crisp smell was lightly tinted with a hint of pine. Its flavor lacked depth, and the watery fallout it left in my mouth was rather unsatisfying. I found myself searching for any notes of flavor beyond that of a traditional light beer.

Their second offering, Bah Humbug, was far more pleasant. The cinnamon and dried plum flavors blended well with the mild malt and hops flavors to produce a beer that really did remind me of Christmas. Certainly one that would be well enjoyed next to a warm fire.

I will admit, my final choice, Greene King’s Festive Pudding Ale, had me worried. Its name implied a sickly sweet flavor that would almost certainly be too overpowering to finish. Thankfully, I was instead greeted with a flavor that, as stated on its bottle, reminded me heavily of my grandmothers Christmas pudding. Flavors of raisins, molasses, and vanilla intertwined well to provide a dark flavored beer that was well balanced. Fans of dark, sweet flavors should definitely pick one of these up next time they take a trip to the beer cooler.

Each of the three reviewed brews can be purchased at NLC stores. Check online for availability and location. Please drink responsibly.