Advent Beer Calendar 2009: Day 11: Santa’s Private Reserve

Rogue Santa's Private ReserveToday’s beer pick is an Oregon beer—you know I had to include at least one—from one of Oregon’s “Old Guard” breweries: Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve.

This is a Northwest Red ale, 6% alcohol, that Rogue describes thusly:

Rogue’s annual holiday offering, Santa’s Private Reserve, is a variation of the classic Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops–including Chinook, and Centennial, and a mystery hop called Rudolph by head brewer John “more hops” Maier!

Tasting notes on their site (and on the bottle) note a “hoppy spruce finish”—something I also noted in a past review of SPR. It’s in the aroma especially: “a hoppy aroma that reminds me of fir trees” and the flavor is intensely hoppy with lots of resin and spice and you will swear there is a touch of spruce in the bottle.

Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the “Rudolph” mystery hop was in fact spruce tips. Somehow that seems appropriate, adding just the right Christmas (and Santa!) touch with an Oregon twist: tips from Sitka spruce trees are the most commonly used, and Sitkas are native to the Pacific Northwest coast.

But, it’s a mystery, one left to ponder as you sip and enjoy the holidays.

BeerAdvocate: B+. RateBeer: 3.51/5, 88th percentile.