If you have not heard of this brewery you have probably not been to the island of Okinawa, Japan. Cliff Beer began in 2019 and is run out of what is best described as a converted home in a densely residential neighborhood. To get to the brewery you have to travel down what appears to be a single lane road. Your GPS will tell you that “you have arrived” and if you do not see the 8” by 12” sign about knee high you would think that Google maps once again got you lost. The only other signs that this is a brewery is there are a few benches and tables outside and on the edge of the building the word entrance is written in English. They regularly produce well made quality beers. This is the only Christmas Ale I could find for this year’s twelve beers of Christmas. According to the bottle this beer is an amber ale base with chai, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander.
Winter Seasonal Beer (Base Beer: Amber Ale) 40–45°F (4–7°C)
Cinnamon notes and ginger bread cookies are layered over a sweet malt base. Chai spices also come through on later smells. An earthy hops is detected but that could be from the spice as well. Brown color with a tan head that persists. As the head dissipates a gingerbread cookie aroma becomes the dominant scent. This carries to the aftertaste with a ginger lingers forever in the aftertaste. The beer is well attenuated and gives a medium to light mouth feel. The finish is smooth and rolls right into a sweet aftertaste with aromas of ginger that waif up through the nasal cavity. Hops are detected to balance the sweetness of the malt, but do not have any stand out aromas or flavors. The flavor would be best described as enjoying an icing laced gingerbread cookie. The sweetness of the icing is the initial taste on the mouth and the gingerbread flavor remains until the next sip. Overall enjoyable and I would have more than one while enjoying a holiday dessert cookie table.
Growing up, cookie tables were a staple at family gatherings like weddings and the holidays. It is exactly what it sounds like with one table being laden with every type of cookie you could imagine. The family would not only make their dessert tray from this table, but it would be left up for the duration of the gathering and you would end up grazing off this for days. I see this beer as the perfect beverage to pair with a cookie table. Specifically this would stand its ground against desserts made with ginger, clove, anis and other potent holiday spices. The sweetness of the malt will counter with the strong scents and flavors of these spices and the gingerbread flavoring will pair nicely with them as well. I can definitely see this beer washing down plates of cookies being consumed by family and friends reminiscing holiday memories and making new ones.