Eclectic, complex, and well executed not only describe the operational side of Prairie Artisan Ales but also define the high quality beer they offer. Based in Tulsa, Okla. Prairie is highly regarded among craft beer enthusiasts for their micro brewed goodness and their artful product labels. Brothers and founders Chase and Colin Healy boldly cultivate and embrace both the ‘craft’ and the ‘beer’ aspect of the industry.
One of the latest offerings available from Prairie is its Christmas Bomb! This is a special release that uses a base of the beloved Bomb!—espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans and ancho chile peppers—and is further tweaked during the brewing process with the addition of cinnamon bark.
With all of the seasonal and special releases from just about every brewery around this time of year, Christmas Bomb! has been one that really stands out.
Transported from bottle to glass, the 12-ounce beer pours a very dark red-brown. It’s so thick that you could lay down a stanza or two of your favorite Christmas carol during the pour. The result is a luxurious looking stout with only a lace-less and faint collar and a strong nose of roasted barley, spice, and sweetness. The complexity of this stout makes it very subjective to what one might experience, but I would also include with the advertised cinnamon bark, notes of nutmeg and peppercorn. The mouthfeel is velvety and smooth with ample carbonation to help dissipate the thick beer-from-concentrate characteristics.
The flavors from start to finish mostly register in the bitter and umami regions of the tongue. I do however believe that they left the ancho peppers on the shelf, as I didn’t pick up any hotness to this brew. The carbonation lingers well after each sip and aids in the drinkability of this beer. Christmas Bomb! presents a balanced tasting experience of char, vanilla sweetness, and baker’s spices with a surprisingly sneaky ABV presence. The finish is earthy and slightly sweet, which is where the Bomb! base takes its stand.