12/2/18: Warped Wing Brewing Company's Holiday Special

4:22 PM

Do you remember September 30th, when I drank Warped Wing's Lagerstadt? In my post, I mentioned Holiday Special, a beer that I'd only glimpsed on Warped Wing's website, and promised to give it the full John Likes Beer to treatment come its release in December.

Well, guess what? It's December now and I've been able to track down a sixer of the lager. So, without further ado, I present to you my very first impression of Holiday Special, Warped Wing's holiday lager.

Warped Wing, as stated on their "About Warped Wing" page, is named after an innovation of the Wright brothers: a special wing they developed to roll as their aircraft flew. The Dayton, Ohio-based company has dedicated itself to crafting beer to honor such innovative thinking.

Holiday Special seems to be such a beer. According to its official page, this latest entry into Warped Wing's lager series (all of which, by the way, are phenomenal) is brewed with holiday spices (nutmeg, lemon peel, and ginger) and honey. The affair clocks in at 4.7% ABV, which makes for an easy drinking option to contrast the rest of the Christmas beers you'll find lining the shelves of your local bottleshop.

My first whiff of Holiday Special surprised me. I was expecting honey or nutmeg, but was I was met with was a deep, roasty, coffee bouquet. I swear, if I didn't know this was a lager I'd peg it as a porter in an instant from the nose alone. It also smells a lot more powerful than it's advertised 4.7%. Revisiting my can, I get the honey, the ginger, and, by really looking for it, the nutmeg. Purrl likes the bouquet as much as I do; she gave my can a whopping fourteen whiffs.

The first flavor Holiday Special's giving me is lemon, which is immediately swallowed up by a bread doughiness. If I look a little deeper, I get the honey and a touch of the nutmeg. Some time after my swig, way far back in the finish, the lemon makes a mild reappearance.

The mouthfeel of the lager is sticky, akin to rice you'd get from a Chinese restaurant. I've never had a beer like this before, so I don't really know what to make of it. It lives up to the flavor, to say the least.

My mom has this awesome breakfast casserole/bake/thing she makes once a year. The day she makes it? You guessed it: Christmas. Each and every year. I have no idea where her recipe came from, but she has it and she bakes it every Christmas morning without fail.

When my brother and I were kids, we'd wake up and attack our stocking until Mom and Dad awoke. Dad would make coffee and we'd then open all the gifts beneath the tree. After we were done, my brother and I would busy ourselves with what we'd received while Mom made breakfast. Eggy, bacony goodness. Her breakfast is as much Christmas to me as a tree and lights, stockings and exchanging presents. And you know what? I'm sitting here thinking about her Christmas breakfast casserole while drinking my Holiday Special.

I'm not quite sure what to make of Holiday Special. Here's what I know: 1) The lager is decidedly not your typical Christmas brew, 2) It's not comprised of those flavors that make a Christmas brew taste like Christmas and, lastly, 3) It's unlike any other offering in Warped Wing's lager line. Push come to shove, I'm giving it an 8.0/10. Holiday Special is a strange beast, but definitely one that I recommend you track down and try. I guarantee you've never had another beer like it.

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