All About Beer Magazine - Volume 36, Issue 6
November 30, 2015 By Heather Vandenengel


Dec. 4-5

Jackie O’s 10th Anniversary

Athens, Ohio

The party’s in Athens, as Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery celebrates a decade of brewing with a beer and music-filled weekend at the brewpub and taproom. There won’t be a bottle release at the brewpub this year, says head brewer Brad Clark, but they will release several 375-mL bottles at the production brewery, and 60 beers will be on tap at the brewpub throughout Friday and Saturday.


Dec. 5-6

Pizza Port Carlsbad Strong Ale Festival

Carlsbad, California

Southern California may not need high ABVs to stay warm in December, but Pizza Port’s annual festival of strong ales brings the heat anyway. More than 65 beers over 8%, from Pizza Port brewpubs and breweries from California and beyond, will be on tap, plus rare bottles will be on hand. Pizza Port Carlsbad’s own 2015 Strong Ale will also be released in bottles at the fest.


Dec. 5

Valley Forge Beer and Cider Festival

Oaks, Pennsylvania

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center will be the site of the fifth annual Valley Forge Beer and Cider Fest, where more than 150 beers and ciders will be on site for sampling from breweries and cideries across Pennsylvania and the country.

(Photo by Joe Ledva)

Dec. 19-20


Essen, Belgium

Bust out those ugly Christmas sweaters to match the pretzel necklaces at Belgium’s Christmas Beer Fest, pouring about 150 Belgian winter and holiday ales. What’s a Christmas beer, anyway? Think malt, spice and everything nice.

Beer Releases

Samuel Adams


28.0% | Blended Strong Ale

Utopias, Sam Adams’ cognac-esque (very) strong ale, is a blend of a new batch of Utopias and previous vintages, some of which have been aging in different barrels for more than 20 years. The 2015 batch is rich mahogany in color with aromas of wood, toffee, cocoa, raisin and maple, and notes of molasses, dates, light smoke, nuts and toffee, according to the brewery.

A Redux for New Belgium Abbey and Trippel

New Belgium Trippel AbbeyTwo of New Belgium Brewing’s oldest beers, Abbey and Trippel, are getting a makeover. The refashioning of the two Belgian-style ales, which have been part of the brewery’s lineup since it opened in 1991, include recipe tweaks to modernize the beer for present-day palates and tastes.

Abbey Ale, a Dubbel, is brewed with new malt varieties, like Black Barley and Weyermann Special W malts for additional roasted, chocolate and plum notes, and a new Belgian yeast strain that brings a balance between the fruity esters and spicy cloves.

Trippel’s recipe also features new malts, Pilsner and Munich, a new Belgian yeast strain and the addition of Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops, for a boost in bitterness and herbal aromatics. It also now clocks in at 8.5% (previously it was 7.8%).

Both Trippel and Abbey Ale are available in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles.

New Dogfish Head Spirits

Dogfish Head is scaling up its spirits program with the release of Analog Vodka, Compelling Gin and Whole Leaf Gin under the Dogfish Head Distilling Co. line.

Compelling Gin is flavored with citrus peel and flesh and is described as having a “crisp juniper snap and lingering cinnamon warmth.” Whole Leaf Gin, dubbed the “IPA of spirits,” is hopped with whole-leaf hops throughout each step of the distillation process. Analog Vodka is made with 100 percent brewers malt and house yeast and has “a viscous sweetness of caramelized sugar and malted barley with a cleansing minerality.”

The Delaware brewery has been distilling spirits at its Rehoboth Beach brewpub since 2002, but recently installed a new distillery at its Milton campus, with two 500-gallon copper stripping stills and a 250-gallon copper vodka column.

The initial lineup will be released in Delaware before Thanksgiving, and Dogfish Head plans to expand distribution to other mid-Atlantic states in 2016.

Dogfish Head Spirits