Taft’s Ale House – Santa’s Bribe

Winter seasonal – dark ale spiked with holiday spices.

Taft’s Ale House – Santa’s Bribe

By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime

5.3% ABV, spiced winter seasonal ale

Taft’s Ale House, Over-the-Rhine – Cincinnati, OH

You can thank the beer & wine tasting bar at Jungle Jim’s International Market (Fairfield, OH location) and my wife Sue (of Palatable Pastime) for this review. We visited JJ’s (as we like to call it) this past Saturday to do some grocery shopping (as we so often seem to do – all part of the whole being married to a food blogger gig, ya know), and she suggested a stop to sample some adult libations. So I said to myself – “Self! I like beer! Let’s do this!”

Anyway, we each selected a couple of sample tastes, and this was one of her choices, which led to her getting a pint. I tried a Scotch ale and a barrel aged Russian imperial stout, then opted for a pint of an old fave, La Fin du Monde, from Unibroue. (I so seldom see this on tap, I couldn’t pass it up.) Sue kindly offered me a taste of Santa’s Bribe, and I was duly impressed by this local holiday seasonal.

She liked it so much she checked the shelves for it afterward, and failing that, inquired if our growler was in the car; one “short” (ahem) trek to the parking lot and back later (and if you’ve ever been there, you understand this is not an insignificant journey – you can knock out a sizable chunk of your daily steps just walking through the place!) I rejoined her at the shopping cart with a quick fill of Santa’s Bribe.

The only issue I can foresee is that there won’t be any left to leave as a bribe for the jolly old elf. Oops!

Poured from a growler fill of draught ale.

Appearance (4.5/5): At first glance appears solid black, but held up to a light it turns a deep, dark brown tinged with amber, with garnet-to-ruby highlights, and has great clarity. This is capped by a light beige head of very fine bubbles that gently subsides to a thin layer and ring.

Aroma (8/10): Beckons with the aroma of Mexican chocolate – cocoa and cinnamon – plus a hint of nutmeg. Very appealing and festive.

Palate (5/5): Possesses a very fine and moderately light carbonation and medium body with a really nice & smooth mouthfeel. Glides over the tongue like liquid satin.

Taste (8.5/10): Flavors are right in line with the aroma notes – chocolate, cinnamon (showing beautiful restraint! I simply can’t abide a too-heavy hand with the stuff in a beer, as much as I love the flavor) and a touch of nutmeg over a solid base of dark yet dry malt with some deep caramel & mild molasses character and a hint of nuttiness. Speaking of things not-too-heavy, this is delightfully approachable and not heavy or filling.

Overall (17.3/20): Beautifully balanced, well-crafted holiday sipper that will have you coming back again.

Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.

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