Brewery: Prairie Artisan Ales
Beer: Christmas Bomb!
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Character: Prairie Bomb! with the addition of Christmas spices, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 90 | RB: 98
Metal Connection: FRIGHTMARE -Black Christmas
As with most the beer I have, I never seem to drink them on time, so here we were Saint Patrick’s Day, 2015, and the beer I grab from the fridge is Christmas Bomb! By Prairie Artisan Ales. Now, here we are months later, and the review is finally going up on the site. Well, stranger things have happened.
As most of you know, Prairie Artisan Ales has become a hit with the “Whale Hunters” with their Bomb! Series beers and other barrel-aged brews. A lot of these are used for trade bait and most of the time, their beers are hard to find. Christmas Bomb! Is actually their original Prairie Bomb! with added Christmas spices, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Remember that original Bomb! is an Imperial Stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers, so there are a tone of addition ingredients in this one beer.
Firstly, let’s talk about this amazing label artwork. In typical Prairie fashion, the label shows comic book-like artwork, this time focusing on a mutant looking face with hypnotic eyes posing in the face made famous by Macaulay Culkin in the popular movie, Home Alone. I say it looks mutant due to the colors used and the crazy looking eyes on this beast. The layout features smaller art pieces in framed wall photos of weird looking family pictures of this thing and of course, Santa Clause. As soon as I saw my very first Prairie label featuring this style of artwork, it immediately made me think of the controversial underground comic, Boiled Angel, by comic book artist, Mike Diana. In the 1990’s, these comics were knows for their sexual, gore, horror, and various taboo subjects. Mike Diana was charged with several counts of obscenity in Florida, He tried to fight the charges,but lost. Being part of the underground Metal scene, Boiled Angel comics were pretty popular among my circle of friends. Here are a few pictures from Boiled Angel/Mike Diana for reference.
Poured into a snifter from the local Naughty Brewery, Christmas Bomb! poured a deep black color and topped with a half inch dark khaki colored foamy head, In this case, the head quickly disappeared which left no lacing at all. This is the case with a lot of big beers like this one, so I did not hold that against Prairie or Christmas Bomb!
The aroma is mostly all chili peppers up front, for me. It was closely followed by cocoa, vanilla, and a mild spice blend. It says it has ginger, but I don’t get any of that. I pick up mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Burning alcohol fills my nose at the end.
The spices are more present in the taste than in the nose. It’s exactly like throwing a glob of spices into a regular Prairie Bomb! Chilies and chocolate hit palate next, followed by cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t get much vanilla flavor, although it is present, just very faint. Cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate and a good alcohol presence linger a bit after each drink I take. The one ingredient that I definitely do not pick up on is the ginger, and usually for my palate ginger is always found in some way, cause I am not a huge fan of the spice.
The body is actually not that thick, as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a light bodied beer, it just wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. The mouthfeel is crisp, and has a spicy bite as well. There is low carbonation, as this beer is a bit flat. Overall, this beer was surprisingly bitter and sweet with a profound alcohol booze presence. The finish was a little dry, and obviously hot from the alcohol.
Overall, Prairie did it again with another outstanding variation of their awesome Prairie Bomb! Each variant is a trader’s wet dream or nightmare, depending on your luck searching these beers out when they get released. I do see that the power of of the internet has made these beers to be a high demand around the craft beer scene, and for good reason – they are all great! I really enjoyed the chilies blending with the Christmas spices. I know we are months away from this year’s release of Christmas Bomb! I know I will be at the store to get my bottle, and so should you (if it’s available in your area).
Metal Connection: Christmas songs are always fun to find in the Metal world. Some are the classic Christmas carols played in a Metal way, some are rewrites of these carols, and others are dark horror themed. Well for those that know me, know that I prefer the latter. I present to you the now split-up Death/Thrash/Grindcore band from Portland, Oregon, known as Frightmare. Frightmare was alive in our underground Metal scene from 2002 until at least 2006, after they released their last offering, Bringing Back the Bloodshed. Their two full length albums were released by the awesome Metal label, Razorback Records. Frightmare was founded by guitarist/vocalist, Neil Smith (aka Maniac Neil), who also played with other famed Death Metal/Grindcore bands, Blood Freak, Lord Gore, Maniac Killer, Whore, and Genital Mat Grinder. I was in good contact with Neil back in the early part the 2000’s. I was doing a webzine back then, and did a small interview with Neil while he was promoting Genital Meat Grinder. Funny to think about old times like that. Damn, 15 fucking years ago! Anyway, here is the song “Black Christmas,” which is from the band’s first full length album, Midnight Murder Mania. The song is about the 1974 Horror classic film, Black Christmas. Enjoy some bad ass, killer Horror Grindcore while sipping on some bad ass, killer beer!