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Craftsman Holiday Spruce - Craftsman Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Craftsman Holiday Spruce
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25 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 25
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 15.88%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Craftsman Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BrewMaster on 12-22-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Popp24
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Popp24, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of jminsc76
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Orange.

Pours a light, brown, soapy head atop a body slightly purple in color. Thick legs sliding down the side as I tilt.

Aromas of pine(!), dark malts, and mildly of spices. I feel as if I'm inhaling a freshly-cut Christmas tree with gingerbread men lined up and down.

Flavors primarily of spices (cinnamon, peppermint) and spruce, with some roasty/carob notes near the finish. Highly flavorful and quite smooth considering the ABVs.

Mouthfeel is halfway between light and medium-bodied; fairly effervescent.

Overall, an excellent Winter Warmer that yields an excellent balance of flavors resulting in a highly drinkable status. Ties with Telegraph's Winter Warmer as one my favorites.

jminsc76, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. ABV listed as 7.2%. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Slightly hazy red-pink body with flame/mahogany highlights. Thin head which recedes to a persistent ivory collar.

Grapes, pomelo, and clean malt aromatics. Faint evergreen and thyme as well. Well-hopped.

Seville orange, pine and citrus-laden hops, and mild ginger on the palate. Very pleasant amber notes along with hints of figs and clove in the finish. Lacks a little depth though.

Medium-light body with almost spritzy carbonation.

A bit thin, and maybe a touch under-spiced for a Winter seasonal, but this still reminds me a little of the Winter version of Yulesmith in some ways which is a good thing.

augustgarage, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of mithrascruor
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at O'Brien's.

Pours a dark amber color with clarity. Nice white head becomes a lasting film. Nice aroma of roasted malts, caramel, and some spices. Taste is similar: somewhat sweet with caramel, but with a bit of hops to balance it out. Spices are well-balanced, so as to not be overwhelming. Smooth and medium-bodied. Very drinkable. I'm not usually a fan of winter warmers, but this was quite good: the sweetness and spices were mild, and it finished crisp too.

mithrascruor, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of scottoale
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at O'Brien's this evening, a nice Winter offering. Pumped into the pint glass a very bright amber-gold with accent on the amber. A fine 1/4" white head that settles to a surface film. The smell starts off with caramel type malt, then whacks the nostrils with a super sappy spruce aire. Almost has a cedar closet scent to it...fresh spruce tips. Pungent.

The taste is quite different than the smell...lot's of citrus, healthy malt dose and a very mild spruce finish. The malt holds it's own, but is seriously infused with hoppy citrus throughout. Lot's of grapefruit, tangelo and even some lemon too it. Very crisp with a lighter medium body and no taste or feel of alcohol. The carbonation is good and lends a bit of spike to the tongue. Not as supple as I was expecting on cask. Overall very drinkable and enjoyable...cheers!

scottoale, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/10/08- Had on tap at Stone Bistro Gardens.

Presentation- Via the tap into a 12oz tulip style glass.

Appearance- Deeper amber colored pour. About a 1/2 inch head and minor watery lace left behind.

Smell- Some minor spices noted. A touch of spruce, but not as much as expected. Malt is roasted caramel in the nose.

Taste- Tastes a bit odd. Cardboard noticed a bit. Spruce is very much contained and really laid back. Would have liked a bit more spices. Caramel malt comes though well though.

Mouthfeel- Rather smooth and crisp with a medium to slightly less carbonation level. Minor aftertaste.

Drinkability- Have had many better winter warmers. Working for Tips blows this spruce beer away in the water.

GClarkage, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of Gmann
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes from my LA trip. Pours a hazy toasted copper with a decent off-white head; nothin special as it was served out of a frozen glass, booo! The smell was sweet, nice winter warmer aromas; nutmeg being the spice that stood out. The taste was of caramel malt, brown sugar, nutmeg, and toffee. A very nice winter warmer. The feel is light and fizzy, finishes on the spicy sweet side but the sweetness/spiciness is in check. A very nice winter warmer, good spice profile. Just wish it wasn't served in a frozen glass.

Gmann, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of drewbage
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium.

Bright orangey amber with a very crisp white head.

Aroma of biscuit, caramel and munich with a large earthy ton of spruce and licorice.

At first the flavor and aroma seems like its too much, but then its seems to mellow after the first few sips and the beer moves into balance.

A nicely flavored beer that turns out to be a great drinking pint that avoids being too cloying or too intensely spiced.

drewbage, Dec 08, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a medium-dark amber, with a small, off-white head, which leaves good lacing in a glass.

S: Light smell, but got some spices and piney hops.

T: Interesting taste. At first it tastes like an above average spiced beer, but as the beer warms up, this great spruce note comes out. It tastes exactly like a Christmas tree smells. This may not sound appetizing but it is. Very flavourful.

M: Just a smooth, medium-bodied, solid ale mouthfeel.

D: Another good beer from Craftsman, one of the better Winter Warmers I've had thus far this year.

Halcyondays, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Lucky Baldwin's, April 2007
This beer has a fairly hazy, dark amber color to it; it is topped by a frothy, amber tinged, tan colored, one-finger thick head that is not quite bad for a beer from the tap. The aroma is a mix of fruit and sweet spice notes that are quite interesting and I can't quite place it, but feel like I should be able to. There are touches of cinnamon and mace here, but not really, as well as notes that remind me of both orange peel and the sweet pulp of an orange. This aroma is quite interesting, and I feel like I should be able to place it; the aroma is really well balanced between the different characteristics and there is almost something like grapes here as well.

This beer has quite a spicy flavor to it; it is a mix of spice notes that give this beer a definitive spiciness, yet are not quite discernable as a contribution from a single spice (perhaps something like cinnamon, mace, orange peel or even some ginger like character is here). There is a solid fruitiness here as well that seems to be a mix of orange, apple a touch of melon and even a hint of raisins. A medium fullness keeps this, along with the interesting spiciness, a sipping brew rather than a full on light quaffing brew. The beer is fairly dry with just a touch of sweetness and even some tartness that must have been added to this brew. This is quite a nice brew, it is perhaps nothing earth shattering, but is a solid tasty beer none-the-less. It was not until I was done with this beer that I realized that the mysterious spice / fruit character was from fresh spruce tips; it make so much sense now, but I couldn't quite figure it out while I was drinking this.

Gueuzedude, May 02, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Stone World Bistro

A: Caramely orange color with a clean hue to it. Carbonation is minimal, just a sparse white ring remaining.

S: Nutmeg, clove, spruce and a touch of banana.

T: First impression is rootbeer. Next the spices roll in; ginger, orange peel and cinnamon. Reminds me a lot of orange flavored tea. Spicy caramel malt acts as a watery background. Finishes sweet, slightly cloying and grainy.

M: Medium body with a syrupy texture.

D: Bit too sweet and seasoned for my tastes. Its a fine line with winter warmers I know, this one was just a bit too over the line for me.

Westsidethreat, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of sloejams
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a fine example of a Winter Warmer transplanted to Los Angeles. Unlike some, Craftsman's version remains somewhat light and subtle on the spicing. In colder climates this might be a bit thin - a thick, hearty Anchor Our Special Ale is what you need. This has the cinnamon and the malts but it also has a slight hoppiness to it. It finishes sweet with a slight brown sugar flavor.

sloejams, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of goschool
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Father's Office on 12/11. I wrote a fairly thorough review on a napkin, which I just came across.

The beer pours mahogany with a one to two finger head that rescinds to nice lacing. I smell caramel malts, roasted malts and a hint of spruce. Rumrunner once told me that this beer tastes like your drinking a Christmas tree, but I'm not getting anything like that. The Christmas tree beer apparently was an older version. It does taste malty and chocolatey with a spruce flavor that's similar to Anchor OSA. Another tasty treat from LA's own Craftsman Brewery.

goschool, May 14, 2006
Photo of OStrungT
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's

This beer pours a reddish brown with a thin light tan head. The head fades slow, leaving lots of laces.

This beer has a malty sweet aroma. It is slightly caramel like. It also has a spicy aroma. I detect some cinnamon also. It has a very slight hoppy aroma.

This beer pretty much tastes like it smells. It has a malty sweet flavor. I can taste some spices. Not much hops. I can also detect a slight fruity flavor.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste. It is carbonated well.

This beer would make a good session beer. Although I dont know the ABV, it dosent taste like it is too high. Also, the flavor is not overly aggressive. I think this is a good beer. I have never had a complaint with anything from Craftsman.

OStrungT, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of BrewMaster
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's 12/21/05.

Appearance: Served in an American pint glass. The color is a burnt cherry red with a whispy off white head. The beer is clear with light carbonation floating to the top. Very nice lacing and retention.

Smell: Sweet maltiness and spices. A bit of cinnamon and fruity berries.

Taste: Crisp and smooth maltiness backed by distinct berry fruitiness. Strawberry and light raspberry back by some clove and cinnamon. The spices sit way in the back and fruit steps to te front. Light hop bitterness surrounded by a faint pine flavor. Well balanced malt and hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth with a dry fruit ending.

Drinkability: Very tasty and a lot more fruity than most winter beers. Well balanced and original. I was very pleased with this beer and will look for it again.

BrewMaster, Dec 22, 2005
Craftsman Holiday Spruce from Craftsman Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.