Holiday Ale | Two Roads Brewing Company

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Holiday AleHoliday Ale
181 Ratings
Holiday AleHoliday Ale

Brewed by:
Two Roads Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: French Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Two Roads Holiday Ale is inspired by the little known Biere de Noel style, on subset of Biere de Garde, both of which originated on small farmhouse breweries in the north of France. Biere de Noel, which translates as “Christmas Beer”, tends to exhibit a more malty profile than a typical Biere de Garde.

In its native France this special type of ale is brewed by just a handful of small breweries and is only available for the few weeks leading up to Christmas.

Added by tigg924 on 01-03-2013

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 |  Reviews: 36
Reviews by corby112:
Photo of corby112
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with golden copper/mahogany edges and a three finger frothy, off-white head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Excellent retention, lingering for the duration of the pour and completely coating the glass with sheets of soapy lacing. Impressive looking beer.

Slightly toasted dark malt aroma with earthy spice, floral hops and vinous fruit. Delicate roast with hints of blonde coffee and lightly charred toast followed by lighter malt sweetness. Some caramel, toffee, treacle and hazelnut. As it warms, the earthy spices and a slight medicinal/syrup-like presence comes forward. Cardomam, allspice, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon followed by cough syrup, sweet grape, raisin, fig and other dark berries. The nose is a little earthy and spice heavy for my preference, but the toasted malt character and vinous sweetness are pretty nice.

Full body with tight carbonation. Very dry and earthy with soily hop bitterness and musty spice. The spices are really strong, overpowering the pleasant malt and fruit esters found in the nose. They are still there, just buried underneath. Prominent zesty pepper with allspice, clove and cinnamon. After warming up a bit the malt bill shines a bit more. Light toast and faint coffee along with caramel, toffee and light chocolate sweetness. Faint vinous fruit presence and boozy sweetness in the finish yet the ABV is decently masked. Unfortunately, the dark fruit esters are somewhat lost. The medicinal character found in the nose is present toward the back of the palate but not quite as strong/harsh as the nose suggests. Overall, I wasn't a big fan of this beer. Not offensive just somewhat harsh and unbalanced. Wouldn't want more than a few ounces.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Two Roads Brewing Company "Holiday Ale"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "PKG 23OCT17 07:12"
$2.99 @ Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: It pours a slightly hazy brown body with ruby-orange highlights beneath a finger thick head of frothy off-white. The aroma is lightly toasty and a little fruity. I'm not finding any spicing, which is good, at least concerning "holiday" spicing. The flavor reaffirms the toastiness that the nose suggests, and the light fruitiness as well, and lo and behold, there IS some spiciness, but it's apparently from Belgian yeast rather than anything added to the kettle. It's nice, giving just a little extra character. Back to the malt, it's sweetish but not sweet, and I'm finding a hint of chocolate and nuttiness to it as well as its initial toastiness. The fruitiness reminds me of plums and apples - perfect for the holiday season! It's medium bodied and gently crisp-then-smooth across the palate. Finally, a median bitterness balances it and it finishes fairly short and dry with just a little bit of everything lingering shortly. Overall it's a great beer. It's not as special as I'd have thought it would be being labeled as a "Holiday Ale" but I'd still welcome it. It's kind of like the Belgian equivalent of an English "winter warmer". Very nicely balanced and rounded. Well worth trying.

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Photo of jlindros
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

well, the Holidays are technically over, and vacation is winding down, so time to crack this one.

Pours a smaller fizzy bubbly 1/2 finger head that fades at fair pace, very little, if any, lacing, with clear cranberry almost maroon color.

Nose brings sweet candy out front, with holiday spices in the background, caramel and a little syrupy sweetness, lots of caramel, toffee, and other sweeteners, mixed with nutmeg cinnamon allspice like spices in the background, a toasted nut perhaps pecan like, an almost bock like biscuity candy toffee aroma as well.

Taste starts sweet and a bit syrupy again, more candy, caramel all over, a sweet sugary fruit syrupy like apple and corn syrup extract thing, with a little booze note and faint phenols. Back to that bock like biscuity toffee candy flavor, but not wheat. Faint spices, holiday spices again but can't label them as they are quite distant, but there is a little candied fruit like a fruitcake. The booze really warms on the back end, which feels like a 9+% beer not 7%, as it somewhat dries on the finish, with light spice notes, plenty more caramel toffee and syrupy flavors lingering too.

Mouth is med to heavier bod, a bit syrupy sweet, decent carb, too much hot booze though.

Overall meh, probably my least fav beer from them yet. Nothing really fun about this beer, too sweet syrupy with way too much booze and the spices are OK but not great for what it is. There are so many better places this beer could have gone.

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Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of woodchipper
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of kcc
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MikeC144
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of TTripp725
2.77/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of GWalk612
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a translucent light caramel color with very little head. A lot of carbonation. Smell of spices, malts, and fruit. Nose is pretty underwhelming. Malty, semi-fruity flavor with some fruit such as plum. Sort of a flat mouth feel, flavor is more or less gone within moments of sipping. Surprisingly high ABV at 7.3% which may be the biggest achievement of this ale, making a relatively high ABV ale very smooth with no obvious alcohol taste. It's not bad, but the nose/mouth characteristics do nothing to make it better than average.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at their tasting room. Poured into a tulip

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, amber in color, clear

Smell: toasted malt and cinnamon

Taste: toasted malt, slight berry, and cinnamon and other holiday spices

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy body, sweet with slight earthy bitterness, moderate-high carbonation

Overall: Nice to see Two Roads can do a malty big beer well. This was easily the maltiest of their offerings to date. A nice and complex holiday sipper. I will certainly get this again if it is on tap when I am in town.

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Photo of far333
3.19/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Burnished copper colored with a rocky beige head of firm foam that slowly recedes. Low aroma of clovey yeastiness. Subtle toasted malt flavor, some bready notes, semi-sweet, clove and yeastiness. A peppery bite lingers. Mouthfeel is a bit watery. Okay beer overall, could use a bit more depth of flavor.

 303 characters

Photo of Jliscin
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Beersilio
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of justme
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a whole lot of fun in a bottle. A one bottle gift from a coworker (he wouldn't part with anymore of his stach)
All the flavors of the holidays. Can't wait until next year to get my own stach

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Photo of dacrza1
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

DATE: March 5, 2017... OCCASION: finishing the first Sunday of Lent with a cold weather brew for a cold night... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip pokal... pours a dark mahogany, slightly translucent body--bubbles are small and active... head is a thick, foamy, and craggy off-white iceberg... aroma begins with berry--cranberry, cherry, deep bread malts and some yeast funk... an ambivalent scent, in all... vibrant at the teeth, flushes quickly and memorable at the throat, packing some heat with its exit... creamy to start, a bit medicinal at the finish... cherry, plum, sweet sugary esters, heady bread malts--a big dessert finish--with some residual medicinal syrup too... pungent cheese, perhaps? streaking film covers the glass as the beer drains... I find the finish cloying, the mouthfeel temporary, and the flavor combative--but this still approximates a winter warmer, and a useful one at 7.3% ABV... approaches a sherry in its flavor, but its imperfections leave it short of other holiday ales....

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Photo of ThirstyLion
4.44/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two Roads Brewery is one of the premier, super fun breweries in the Northeast. Even if I tried to not buy their beers, they would manage to make their way into my refrigerator in spite of my efforts!

Christmas Ale absolutely does not disappoint. From a Cool Factor perspective, this beer is a seriously good ale. The reason I say this is because it is incredibly smooth for such a happy wonderful and complexly drinkable Holiday beer. It is a soft, subtle complement beer that belongs at the table during a serious feast.

There's no disappointing aftertaste and another sip simply waits for you as the beer sits in front of you and comes to life with marvelous happy fingers sticking to the edges of your frothy glass.

The deep, nut brownish and black bark color foreshadows plenty of honey and spices yet the taste will deceive you in the most surprising and unexpectedly pleasant way!

This is an extremely refreshing beer that just goes down so smooth that it has to be among the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of tasting during the holiday season & while eating, this offering is mild enough so that it does not overshadow all the various tastes that yoy might experience at a holiday feast.

I would definitely pair Two Roads Holiday Ale with short ribs or perhaps a nice porterhouse steak complete with all the trimmings like roasted vegetables, carrots parsnips and garlic mashed potatoes...etc!

Holiday Ale is exactly what it's supposed to be because it goes with all of the different meals that you will be eating around the holidays and the smooth easy finish and drinkability of this beer lends itself to whatever dishes you decide to put on your table for the holiday season.

There is a slight maltiness that comes through after a swallow of this ale. It's downright delightful! I think most of us would be hard-pressed to find a better beer to have with dinner than this marvelously hoppy yet ridiculously drinkable offering from Two Roads Brewery in good old Stratford Connecticut!

When you think of a Christmas Ale you think of a provincial, French, limited & hard to find beer brewed only during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Holiday Ale is all this and more because it belongs on a table that has all the trimmings & is set for a serious feast. I happened to experience my first mug of holiday ale while eating roast beef and roasted vegetables parsnips and what not. I was very happy and surprised that I could drink the beer and enjoy my food and I noticed the incredible balance of Holiday Ale.

Oftentimes a beer will detract from the food that is served but not this one because holiday is simply enhances what you eat. If you wanted to sit and talk with a friend and enjoy a nice beer I'm not sure this would be my choice but if you're going to have dinner and you want an incredibly wonderful and satisfying brew that in a very subtle way will complement what you serve, then Bob is your uncle!

There is a distinct and complex flavor profile that includes touches of cinnamon brown sugar and malts that are extremely subtle. The Lush frothy feel of this beer on your tongue will Amaze you, but only if you focus on it because otherwise the glass lowers and lowers before you even know it and then it's gone like Santa Claus when he slips down the chimney delivers your presents it disappears leaving only a few cookie crumbs as evidence that he was even there!

 3,411 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the tap into a pint glass. The appearance is a pale reddish color with a small white head. The aroma sweet caramel and some spices. The taste is like the nose but with some toffee tossed in for good measure.

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Photo of amongiel
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of johnwetterstrand
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of grahuba
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mjstacker
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a dark hazy red to auburn color with a slim one finger white to slim laced foamy head. The smell has a nice sweet malty to bitter rye profile up front with a fairly decent underscore of spicy rye to sweet rye, nice for the most part. The taste was moderately sweet with a nice balance to the spice of the rye to slide right on into the aftertaste and into the finish nicely. On the palate, a nice gentle smooth rye sweet clean feel slides over my tongue very nicely. Overall, well, if anything, I liked it for me.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

4/14...pours a dark and moody copper, light foam on top. Rich flavorful nose, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little funky. Taste is a lightly sweet malt, some pepper, background gritty bitter. Fruity. Very flavorful. Some cherry. Awesome.

 231 characters

Photo of VABA
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A dark clear auburn amber with a slight head and slight lacing. Aroma had slight hints of malt and spicy. A nice spicy taste. A light bodied smooth drinking beer. A good and enjoyable beer.

 189 characters

Photo of Uconnelmo
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

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Holiday Ale from Two Roads Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 181 ratings