Butte Creek Christmas Cranberry Ale
Butte Creek Brewing Company

Butte Creek Christmas Cranberry AleButte Creek Christmas Cranberry Ale
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Fruit and Field Beer
not listed
2.67 | pDev: 26.59%
Butte Creek Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Butte Creek Christmas Cranberry AleButte Creek Christmas Cranberry Ale
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 20 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

2.41/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber that I picked up at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa recently, well I was in a festive mood and couldn’t resist this one. Cranberry red label has the head of a smiley Santa chappie thrusting a frothing Pint forward with the words ‘Ho Ho Ho’. No freshness date or strength listed; it is described on the left hand side of the label as Ale with a hint of Cranberries”.

Appearance: Copper chestnut that at times looks hazed but is almost clear. Frothy off-white head builds quickly and slowly settles to a decent ¼” thick covering which covers all the bases and just keeps the body covered towards the end. Nice lacing and decent enough levels of dissolved carbonation.

Nose: Light fruity nose with the merest delicate hint of Cranberries, but you have to sniff hard to get the.

Taste: A very short crisp burst of delicate Cranberry right at the start followed by a rather tired old Pale Ale ending with a little splash of malt and bitterness. After a few mouthfulls it leaves a funky fruity feel on the tongue, like the faded tired residue that you often get after eating and an old packet of Wine Gums.

Mouthfeel: Thin, very thin, the carbonation manages to hold some semblance of feeling on the tongue but only just, yet it still has a minimalist body.

Drinkability: I had a whole Bomber of this, and once I finished my Review, I passed on the last 5 ounce or so. Not exactly a drain pour, just boring.

Overall: A very plain, extremely boring offering that really has nothing at all to offer the Imbiber. Very…..well…..very…erm…stunningly….“nothing” really.

Christmas Cranberry…Bah Humbug!

Dec 24, 2004
More User Reviews:
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rebel1771 from Florida

3.26/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazey dark copper color with little head. The aroma is comprised almost completely of hop bitterness, with an extremely faint hint of fruit. Much like the aroma I am underwhelmed by the taste of this brew. While it does taste good for an APA, there is almost no appearance of any cranberries in the flavor. This is a decent enough brew but not really what was advertised.

Jan 28, 2006
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ElGordo from Oregon

3.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My store got a few extra cases from the distributor's overstock, which we were able to sell for $1.70/bottle. I wasn't exactly enthused by the name of the beer, but I'll try anything at that price.
Pours a light amber with golden highlights, topped by a small, creamy tan head. Aroma of light Belgian yeast, tart fruit (cranberries, sour cherries), and a bit of sweet malt. Palate is medium caramel malt, tart fruit and ale yeast, and just a hint of mellow hops. The fruit lingers on the finish, yielding a pleasant fruity tartness for several moments after the swallow. Body is a bit thin, but not uncharacteristically so for a fairly light beer. Easy-drinking, though not particularly special, this is an interesting and light winter seasonal.

Jun 21, 2006
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RoyalT from Ohio

3.06/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a dull but pretty orangish-brown in color with a terrific Belgian Ale type of head that showed great retention and left lots of pits and lacing all along the inside of my Great Lakes Brewing glass.

Smell – The aroma here is stale grain with a bit of unsweetened cranberry.

Taste – The taste is huge in contrast to the modest nose. The grainy malts are deep and have some real sweetness to them and maybe a bit of a yeasty finish. The cranberry is there but it’s not like cranberry juice, it’s more like the flavor or canned cranberry sauce.

Mouthfeel – This is shy of medium-bodied with some lively carbonation.

Drinkability – It’s not my idea of a sessionable or even a preferable FVB, but it’s a notch above sink.

Apr 28, 2006
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GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass lightly hazy copper with a barely there off-white head which did little to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity (can anyone truthfully decipher that as cranberry?) with a hop presence. The aroma was lightly floral and the fruit almost seemed like watermelon when melded with the hops and caramel.

The flavor was light with a moderate fruity flavor that contained caramel, but not strong caramel, and a strawberry character. Looking for cranberries but strawberries and a light bit of tartness which was refreshing and not detrimental to the beer.

The finish was dry with lasting impressions of strawberry into the aftertaste. The body was medium and with little carbonation did not have a chance at being creamy in the mouthfeel. A bit boring and missing fruit character for sure.

22 ounce bottle.

Dec 19, 2006
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

2.38/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Dark orange with butterscotch edges and weak highlights of cranberry juice red (if I squint). The orange-tinted ivory cap is three fingers to start and is firm enough to last for a while. It looks like it'll deposit a good bit of lace as well, since a thick collar is beginning to appear as the foam begins to settle. Not much ends up sticking, however. Christmas Cranberry Ale looks for all the world like an APA.

There isn't much going on in the nose. What I can appreciate smells like an APA that has been severely underhopped. I smell berries, but I'd be hard pressed to identify them as cranberries if I didn't know better. It's often difficult to tell by aroma alone, but I predict that the beer will be sweeter than it is sour or bitter. Although there are no off-aromas, there are no real positive qualities either.

The flavor is surprising... surprisingly bad. BCCCA fails what I like to call the 'grimace test'. If the consumption of a beer results in an involutary grimace on my part, then it's bad beer, no matter what else it has going for it (usually nothing). The effort required to keep my facial muscles in line with every sip is not a good sign.

The beer's biggest fault is an astringent bitterness that has little or nothing to do with hop flavor. Things settle down by the midway point of each mouthful, but that initial contact with the taste buds is a challenge. The fruit flavor tastes neither fresh nor artificial, it just tastes stale. Although cranberries are probably my least favorite berry, I can imagine a good cranberry ale if done right. This one is done wrong. Massively wrong.

I was mistaken about the sweetness. I detect some amount of sugariness attempting to fight through the chewing-on-aspirin bitterness, but it's fighting an uphill battle. The mouthfeel is light-medium and steadily deteriorates to become borderline watery by the finish. This is one case where a lighter mouthfeel is preferable since it doesn't allow the objectionable flavor to linger.

Simply put, this is not good beer. I'm not sure what justifies the Christmas moniker, other than the label and the use of what might be thought of as a Christmas berry. If you want to give yourself a present this holiday season, stay as far away from Butte Creek Christmas Cranberry Ale as possible. A lump of coal would be preferable.

Dec 25, 2005
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blitheringidiot from Pennsylvania

2.93/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Smiling elf label without any info about freshness or ABV. My best liver-o-meter gues is about 7% ABV.

Pours after a rough gluggy pour with an off white ecru cap instantly settling to a dense layer of foam over a hazy apricot hued offering.

Scents are all over a cherry juice like white on rice. Some alter scents of vinous quality creep out.

First swigs: Brassy metallic copper initial flavor meets a lightly boozy awl-kee-hawl of whiskey with a raspberry IHOP pancake syrup over hot cakes.

Thin feel with a soft carbonation.

Last swigs: Cherry cola imperial wheat lacking refined quality. A muddy beat up lightly spicy crash course of fruit cake beer. Needs a less harsh scent and flavor. Curious to try but forgetable and barley edible.

Beer is good. Happy spicy Christmas labeled beering.

Jan 17, 2007
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Dukeofearl from California

2.06/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My first thought when I tasted it was, hmmmm, intersting. What's going on here? Second sip, eh, this isn't grabbing me. Third sip, no, this isn't very good. Fourth sip, no, I don't like this beer at all.

I guess this is cranberry in beer, and now I don't think these two flavors should meet. A moderate orange-amber color is interesting enough, but the fruit flavors just clash with the rest of this beer. Certainly there is cranberries in here, but now I ask, why?

All I can say is, not recommended.

Jan 05, 2006
Photo of Zorro
Zorro from California

2.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 Oz Bomber from San Roque in Santa Barbara.

Pours a clear amber colored ale without much head formation.

Smell is sweet and malty with a fairly strong aroma of cranberries. Additional scents of bread, nuts, vanilla and banana for some reason.

Taste is mild malts with a flavor of berries up front and a slightly bitter hop finish. The flavor is all berries at the start and finishes as a run of the mill ale. After a while the bitterness gets to you, as it is out of whack with the rest of the flavors. This has the same out of proportion bitterness that Anchor Steam "Small Beer" has.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not that great a beer. Regular ale with cranberries added. This would be OK if the basic ale it is made from were better. I suggest the brewer go back to the drawing board and try adding cranberries to a Belgian Witbier.

Jan 02, 2006
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GClarkage from California

3.53/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/21/04- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Served to me in a random pint glass.

Appearance- Amber-golden pour with a decent head and average lacing.

Smell- Definite hops and fruityness.

Taste- Cranberry? Couldn't really taste any of that. But. there are considerable hops and other different light fruit tastes here. Maybe lemon.

Mouthfeel- Rather carbonated with a fuller feeling.

Drinkability- Not that bad. More of an IPA tasting beer that anything else IMO. Wouldn't go out of the way to buy it though.

Dec 22, 2004
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

2.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle acquired in trade with Saarlander (as part of the Mystery Swap v2.0).

Poured a medium and hazy amber color with a huge, huge sized off white head. Aromas of cranberries, light caramel and a perfume. Tastes of mainly tart cranberries. Not too much going on with this beer and the cranberries where a little on the artificial side.

Notes from: 4/11/07

Jan 12, 2009
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mushroomcloud from Texas

2.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - 1/4" off-white head. Orange amber color. Some lace.

S - Pale ale style hops. Malt. Sweet fruit (not cranberry).

T - Metallic. Some bitterness, not much else. Hard to pick out the cranberry. Some sweetness - maybe that is the cran. Bitter orange peel.

M - Light bodied mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

D - Not very interesting. Not off or bad, just not all that tasty.

Jan 17, 2006
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AltBock from Ohio

2.08/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a rather stuipd picture on the front. The picture is of this freaky guy dressed up as Santa coming out or going down a chimney while holding a pitcher of red beer (definitely not this beer). What is really freaky about this guy is he's saying Ho Ho Ho and while saying this, he has this gap tooth grin on his face that says "this is going to be your last Christams!" If you ever see this kind of man going to down your chimney at Christmas time, grab the nearest blunt or sharp object and protect yourself. If you can get pass the picture, there is some info on side and no date what so ever on the bottle.

Appearance: When I poured it into my Samuel Smith pint glass, the beer was this orange/copper color with just a little skim of foam that I guess was white in color. If you want any foam, you got to shake up the bottle a little bit. It did leave some rings and foam, only after I shook it up a little bit. At least the beer was better looking than the label.

Smell: I was expecting this beer to have this rich aroma of cranberries. Boy, was I wrong. What I got instead was this strong hops aroma with some wheat behind it and just a tad of waterd down cranberries at the end. I smell something else, but I just can't put my finger on it.

Taste: When it says "Cranberry Ale" on the front, I usual expect some kind of cranberries to be in it. What I got instead were these bland hops and some kind of wheat taste. I guess that could be some kind of bread taste. I think I might have gotten some cranberries when I first took a sip, but that's the only time I tasted cranberries in this. Maybe it should be called "Christams Bland Hops Ale" instead of it's usual name.

Mouthfeel: Really bland and watery. In the beginning there was some bitter hops, but when it warms up that goes away.

Drinkability: On the side it says "keep a bottle or two in you fridge for your special holiday occasion," but I would never do that. I even had a hard time drinking this one, let alone 2 more bottles of this beer. If you like cranberries, then drink cranberry juice. Don't let the name confuse you.

Feb 11, 2006
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DogFood11 from California

1/5  rDev -62.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

bomber with a christmas feel to the red, white, and green label. I started with the usual pour but soon realized it would take some effort to get the desired head. Light orange color and a hazey body. Retention is moderate.

Pretty lame body to this brew. Whats the theme? Cranberries? One would think that would be the case. Couldn't be farther from the truth. If there is some cranberry in this or any other fruit its missing my palate. This is a pale ale that has lost its way. Soft and sweet malts that have a doughy aspect to them. Laid back suggestions of cinnamon towards the finish, but really that is digging for something to talk about. If you've had the Mt. Shasta beer brewed by Butte...this is very similair.

Notes: Ugghhhh, this is truly a bad beer. Combine that with a misguided sales (label) pitch it is confusing. It really reminded me of the Mt. Shasta pale ale on a bad day. A really bad day.

Nov 18, 2006
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TheEclecticGent from Georgia

2.11/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This Fruit Beer pours a cloudy amber-brown with moderate carbonation. The smell is very light and fruity. The taste is light and hoppy but more like a mild red ale. I can’t taste the cranberries. This tastes like a standard microbrew red ale. The mouth feel is a medium weight feel and slightly fizzy. I’m not very impressed

Dec 31, 2005
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IntriqKen from California

2.31/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours sort of a dark orange or a golden amber with a half finger of white head that melts to a very faint ring.
Aromas are toasted amber malt and very little else.
Flavor is just a sour kind of amber ale. Not really distinctively cranberry at all. Just a sourness to the typical amber ale flavors.
It's not horrible so much as it is disappointing and boring.

Jan 13, 2007
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Enola from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +49.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall, this beer is really not as bad as I had feared. It has many of the same qualities as a pale ale. The beer is an off orange and there is little head. The smell if hoppy and fruity. The taste is hoppy and smooth. Again pale ale like with a splash of cranberries thrown in. The mouthfeel is smooth. Nothing about this beer is harsh which makes it quite drinkable. This is an easy drinking brew that is very good for the style. Sampled my wifes bomber, now I may have to buy a couple of my own.

Dec 19, 2006
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JayTheFinn from California

3.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super subtle cranberry flavor makes this one taste like a pretty good bitter.

A - Slightly reddish orange body with a small off-white head that doesn't stick a around for very long.
S - I can barely make out a fruitiness in the scent, but there's a stronger (not strong, just stronger) general malty smell.
T - Wow, that's the most subtle fruit flavor I've ever tasted! Amazingly uncranberry-like. But you know what, it works as a bitter, a slightly spicier than the norm bitter.
M - The fruity flavor is most noticeable when it lingers on the tongue during the aftertaste. This is probably this beer's strong point.
D - Overall it's drinkable enough if you get past the lack of cranberry. But in all honesty, isn't it probably better for everyone that this DOESN'T taste like cranberry? I just can't imagine that flavor tasting very good in a beer.

Nov 12, 2006
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largadeer from California

1.3/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Well, this was pretty revolting. It starts out reasonable enough, with a murky amber pour and a sweet, fruity aroma. After that, it becomes unreasonable. The flavor consists of overpowering sweet/sour fruit and alcohol, with a gag-inducing metallic aftertaste reminiscent of chewing on a dirty old penny. The body is thin and the drinkability is non-existent, largely due to it being really hard to swallow without vomiting. Avoid at all costs.

Oct 31, 2007
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t0rin0 from California

2.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Nov 15, 2012
Butte Creek Christmas Cranberry Ale from Butte Creek Brewing Company
Beer rating: 73 out of 100 with 20 ratings