'Tis The Season

Brewery and Country of Origin: Full Sail Brewery of 506 Columbia Street, Hood River, OR, 97031, USA

Date Reviewed: 12-18-12

Last week, while reviewing the Annual Christmas Ale by Goose Island, we went into some detail about the background of the Christmas (winter) ale. Well, now that we're in the thicket of the Christmas songs season, we figured this would be a good time to torture all of you with a bit of knowledge about the annual tradition (mostly in relation to the songs usually played in The US, The UK, and Ireland). Perhaps what's most amazing about this tradition is that it makes music both awesome and terrible all at the same time. Of course, the day when December 26th comes along this year, no one is going to want to listen to "Angels We Have Heard On High" anymore. Right now though? It seems like everyone must stop what they're doing in order to join in song. Amazing, yeah? Well, anyway, this beer is a clear reference to the popular Christmas standard, "Deck The Halls," a mid to late Nineteenth Century song (though the actual melody was a Welsh dance tune which originated much earlier) which goes on about basically celebrating this time of year with song, dance, gay apparel, and of course, holiday themed decor. It is perhaps one of the most sung and most annoying Christmas songs ever, but don't fret. There are many others we we actually do like.

You know "The First Noel", and "Joy To The World", and "Away in a Manger", and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." "The Christmas Song", and "Winter Wonderland", and that song about your golden ring? But do you recall, the most famous song... of them all? Rudol-- no. "Sleigh Ride." Done.

What's interesting about all of this is that as any athlete or academic will tell you, the right music will put you in the right mood. Accoriding to the ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), over 40% of the American music industry's revenue is generated during the fourth quarter of every year, with a pinnacle on the 25th of December... the day before Boxing day of course. About 400 radio stations across the US play Christmas music 24 hours a day, beginning on the unofficial start of the season, whenever that is... probably Black Friday. Either way, the RIAA and others know that Christmas time is for Christmas music. And when you're in the mood, what do you do? Go shopping! As we discussed some reviews ago, this time of year marks a massive consumer driven economic boost for consumer goods and services. Retailers will basically start playing music earlier and earlier each year in order to extend the holiday shopping season, as it is known to get people in the mood to ultimately shop for gift receivers. The idea spreads beyond music, including sales, putting Christmas related merchandise out front or in a prominent location, and even decorations being set up as early as November 1st. So it's not really the song's fault you may find it annoying. If there is anyone to blame for your sudden, unjust, and unmerited hatred for "Jingle Bells," blame Wal-Mart.
Date Sampled: 12-08-12 At: Rhode Island Row Apartments, 2300 Washington Place Northeast, Washington, DC, 20018, USA
Beer Style: American IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 6.50%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 7 oz Mini Pint Glass
Rating: 3.76


This beer pours with a slightly choppy pour, producing a half inch foam head with a moderate density, average retention, and a slight crispness. There is no sediment as this is a clear and filtered beer with a nice shine. This brew has a rich amber color which glows in the light. This beer demonstrates full lacing.


Wreck The Halls' aroma has a medium strength with a mostly hoppy bitter profile, typical of an IPA. There are also some sweet caramel like malty notes, as well as a small amount of citrus. There is no alcohol present in the aroma, and the presence of malt makes this aroma well balanced for the style.


This is a medium light bodied brew with some lingering and a slightly dry finish. A moderately low viscosity and a medium high level of carbonation keeps this beer crisp and refreshing, despite its higher alcoholic content. This beer is easy to drink. This beer delivers a small warming effect after the dry finish.


The flavor is dominated by the usual hoppy bias that IPAs tend to showcase. The bitterness is appropriate and countered with a slightly sweet malty presence. There are some slightly roasted and caramel notes present as well as a hint of spice. There is a very bitter and dry finish with an average amount of lingering.

Our Take

Though this brew isn't a Christmas or winter ale per se, we'd still recommend this as a more forgiving alternative to heavier or darker stouts, porters, and imperial stouts. And in a way, that makes this a bit more acceptible. Sometimes, as retailers and most consumers in the western world often do, beer drinkers get a bit too carried away with the season. Sure, as we know, most seasons are best enjoyed with certain kinds of beer... or is it the other way around? Either way, that's not a rule written in stone (that we know of), nor is it how you should live your life, or dictate your beer choices. In fact, we even recommended a dark, heavy, malty stout on a beach in Duxbury, Massachusetts on a 95 degree day (yes, we were mildly sunburnt). Anyway, this is still a very good beer which celebrates the holiday season without actually being a holiday beer, with the exception of a small amount of spice. So in the face of all of this pressure to drink according to season, remember that it is ultimately your choice.