Santa’s Little Helper is Cascade Lakes Brewing Company‘s seasonal Winter Warmer. Cascade Lakes is one of my local breweries; I highlighted them and several of their beers in a past Session, but since then they’ve done an overhaul and update of all their package designs. Where before they had the cartoony, anthropomorphic animals going on—like in the grainy blurry picture to the right (it’s a monkey on a Christmas tree)—they’ve gone more stylized, with a cleaner presentation and layout. See the label below left for what the "new" SLH bottle looks like.
I like the new designs myself; the old ones had a certain charm but the new ones are sharp.
The beer itself is a 6.4% alcohol Winter Warmer brewed with honey, according to their website—although to be fair, I’m not sure if this means "honey malt" or actual honey. Either way, it’s one of the tastiest beers Cascade Lakes produces.
Appearance: Nice brownish-amber in color, fairly clear, with a tan head.
Smell: Cascade hop tang (citrus), twiggy and floral. Sweet malt behind that, carmelly. A touch of spiciness.
Taste: Malty, hoppy, a nice spicy note and a thick presence. Hops are clean, bitter, herbal, the source of that nice spiciness… a little bit of pine and cut grass. Some nice roasted malt notes (a little) in the background.
Mouthfeel: Thickly medium-bodied and satisfying. Nice hop-bitter aftertaste.
Overall: It’s not a heavy or overdone beer; it satisfies.