The annual wintertime release from Glassell Park's Eagle Rock Brewery, Jubilee is a spiced old ale that finds delicate balance between warming alcohol, sweet malts and festive spices. Nursing a snifter of the complex brew is an ideal tonic for the stresses of the holidays, and the ale makes for a wonderful post-feast tipple.
At about 8% alcohol, the honey-gold Jubilee is warming without tasting boozy, and the full body, rich in caramel malt and bready yeast flavors, rewards leisurely contemplation. The added spices are subtle — especially compared with many spiced holiday ales — and hint at holiday fruitcake or gingerbread. Flavors of currants and dried apricot enhance the fruitcake impression, but there's enough firm bitterness in the finish to avoid a cloying palate overload.
Old ales are often prized for how they gracefully mature with aging, and Jubilee is a wonderful candidate for experimenting with cellaring. Grab an extra bottle or two and stash them in a cabinet until next year, and you might find the spices more subdued and the fruitiness and malt character enhanced. Assuming, of course, that you can keep from opening the bottles during the long season of winter celebrations.
Style: Spiced old ale
Price: About $10 for a 22-ounce bottle
Where to find it: The Eagle Rock Brewery tap room in Los Angeles, (323) 257-7866, eaglerockbrewery.com; Whole Foods Markets; and craft beer bottle shops and better liquor stores.