Mission Holiday Ale

Mission Brewery Holiday Ale

Brewed by: Mission Brewery

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: Belgian
  • Variation: Strong Ale
  • Seasonal: Yes
  • ABV: 8.6%
  • IBU: 28

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

This Belgian Style Dark Ale delivers the promise of the holidays, both indulgent and delicious. Dark, rich, and smooth, this ale is sure to delight the senses. Complex aromas of raisin, plums, and fig, with light Belgian style spiciness, Mission Holiday Ale proves to be an indulgent treat for the holiday season. Here for a limited time; give a little, keep a little.

Hops: N/A

Malts: N/A

More Mission Brewery Holiday Ale Images

First Impressions

Artwork: Mission’s trademark sailing ship encased in a golden holiday globe ornament.

Color: Dark brown, almost black.

Aroma: Raisins over mild chocolate.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 22oz. Bottle

Served in: Short Tulip

In our book, one local San Diego brewery that doesn’t get enough attention is Mission Brewery. Not only do they brew solid beers in a variety of styles, but their location is a great spot to hit before Padre home games at Petco Park. This Belgian Dark Strong Ale was their holiday release, aptly named Holiday Ale.

Mission Holiday Ale poured an ample sized cream colored cap atop its deep mahogany colored body. Its fluffy coating of froth didn’t last long, and soon reduced to a thin covering. After a few sips, any sign of head had vanished.

Aroma was fairly mild, but still on the sweet side. There was a base of chocolate, with more candied notes like raisin, or dried fruit layered over. The nose on this ale opened up more as it warmed, where raisin began to appear more pronounced. Holiday Ale may have done better in a snifter, letting it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Initially, Holiday Ale’s flavor started off slow with subtle toffee, but soon hit its stride with several transitions of sweet indulgent flavors. The Belgian yeast lent more intense notes of sweetness and dried fruit, like a scoop of rum raisin ice cream.

With a touch of heat to it, the finish started to dry out with slight booziness reminiscent of brandy. When we say sweet it wasn’t cloying, but very pleasing levels or sugary fig, plum, and raisin you look for in a dark Belgian ale.

Holiday Ale’s mouthfeel was on the softer side for its lighter consistency. For a dark strong ale, it could have been more syrupy, but we still couldn’t help from wanting to keep our palates drenched in it, and its satisfying blend of sugary flavors.

Which does bring up a (good) problem with this beer — it was so tasty, smooth, and drinkable, but difficult to keep pace with its sturdy, yet sneaky, 8.6% ABV. It started to feel like 10 or 11% beer, but who’s counting, right?

Final Score: 3.5/5

3.5 Stars

Mission Brewery Holiday Ale was a rich, satisfying Belgian dark ale that featured desserty notes of toffee, chocolate, and candied fruit. It definitely lived up to its billing as a strong ale, while maintaining smoothness and drinkability.

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