2013 Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing

13528582_10103365113836860_7176845156511500108_oRating: 7/7

2013 Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing is a 12% ABV Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels.


Everyone knows that Santa delivers toys and gifts to little girls and boys each Christmas Eve. But what does he do with the sleigh the other 364 days a year? Well rumor has it he hitches up the reindeer each July testing driving to ensure it’s still in operating condition. At the North Pole they mark their calendars calling it Christmas in July.

How do we know that? Well, Virginia, each year Santa stops by Port Brewing to load up his sleigh with beer for his return trip to the North Pole. He’s a big fan of Santa’s Little Helper, and for the last nine months our brewers have been extra naughty aging some in bourbon barrels. Hopefully Santa won’t drink it all by himself, but we wouldn’t blame him if he did.


Aged for 3 years, this beer has been a staple and a favorite of mind since I first started trying different craft beers and one of the ones that really started getting me into trying different barrel aged beers. They stopped making this beer for a while but was recently released once again but in smaller bottles. So to my surprise, I was able to find this still at the local Downey Liquor in Downey California. This beer was first bottled in 22 ounce bottles and was bourbon barrel aged. Now a days, they sell the same beer for the same price ($15-16) but a 350ml bottle. Considering I was able to find more of these, I refuse to pay for the smaller bottles. The decision for Port Brewing to sell in smaller bottles for the same price is quite irritating especially for such an amazing beer. I would understand them lowering the price if they wanted smaller bottles but it is pretty ridiculous now a days. Anyways, it has been 3 years and I definitely want to see how this beer has progressed. Cheers!


Rich oak, vanilla, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, vinous dark fruits like raisins, plums, currants, black berries, dark cherries, figs, fruit cake, almond, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cinnamon, ginger bread cookies, cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream, oatmeal chocolate cookies, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Bakers chocolate, rocky road ice cream, toasted coconut, stone fruit hints, wine grapes, crème brulee and mango.


Rich vinous oak, vanilla, port wine, bourbon, roasted coffee, Kahlua Liqueur, flan hints, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Bakers chocolate, rocky road ice cream, toasted coconut, figgy pudding, dark fruit raisins, plums, currants, black berries, dark cherries, marshmallow smores, fruit cake, almond, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cinnamon, ginger bread cookies, cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream, oatmeal chocolate cookies, tobacco, leather, dulce de leche caramel, wine grapes, sweetenend condensed milk hints, crème brulee hints, raspberry chambord hints, stone fruit peach notes, dragon fruit and mild mango.


Finishing with port wine notes, dark chocolate, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, dark fruits, flan, fruit cake and figgy pudding. No alcohol in the taste, deep dark abyss full body, smooth, silky, rich and chewy mouthfeel and sipping drinkability.


A bucket list beer, especially since this one being the original when they used to sell in 22 ounces. Now a days they sell this in 375ml bottles for the same price as this one which I don’t know about. I have tried it a while back on tap and it was as good as I remembered this one. Essentially, it is the same beer as I remember before. However, this 3 year aged one for being the oldest one and the bigger bottle, a definite find is in order for you beer lovers. The beer has turned into a more vinous delight complementing the chocolate complexity along with the development of raisinettes in bourbon and rich fruit cake and figgy pudding servings. A true Christmas beer, you can have in June, July or any time of the year.

Anime Corner:

Keira Hagai from Jack and Daxter and Sansei Muramasa from Full Metal Daemon were used in this for the overall Christmas theme. I have used Keira in the past as she was to represent the colors of Christmas but she also has Daxter on her arm to represent Santa’s Little Helper. This time around, Sansei was brought in to be the Santa’s little helper as she has the reindeer antlers but also represents how the beer has essentially aged well.




Isabelle Proximus (Allaverdogportrush) collaboration between Allagash, Avery, Dogfish Head, Port Brewing’s The Lost Abbey and Russian River Breweries

1383150_10101445803435290_828107755_n 316047_10100288110635940_826948610_n 393050_10100312481960610_850996889_nIsabelle Proximus (Allaverdogportrush) collaboration between Allagash, Avery, Dogfish Head, Port Brewing’s The Lost Abbey and Russian River Breweries is a 7% ABV American Wild Ale. This beers is retired and no longer brewed. This information is from an old review. It is merely a reminiscent of a time when 5 brewers did a large collaboration.

AKA Belle Proximus, a collaborative effort between Tomme Arthur, Vinnie Cilurzo, Lorenzo Dabove, Rob Tod, Adam Avery and Sam Calagione. 

In March of 2006 five guys-Adam Avery, Vinnie Cilurzo, Rob Todd, Tomme Arthur accompanied Sam Calagione and Lorenzo Dabove The Prince of Pajottenland through a tour a tour of Belgium’s finiest Gueze producers. Many of the mysteries of Lambic production were answered along the way. They vowed to return to the states to brew a sour beer celebrating their experiences. In November of 2006 the reunited at Port Brewing to brew Isabelle Proximus. 

In this bottle, you’ll find the answers to many of the questions that were first posed along their journey near the river Senne. However, like the mysteries of lambic beers, there remains one lingering question that was left unresolved. we hope like us, the next time you’re on a pilgrimage to Brussels you’ll drop by the Empire Club and let us know whether you prefer Green or Orange….

As a toast to the Anniversary of my blog, I take a step back and show you an old review. Back then I never had the idea of anime and beer pairings as I do now. However, I found a picture that I think would have fit perfectly with that beer from yore. Not to mention the fact, that I may have give this one a high rating as well since this beer was made with a great collaboration effort of 5 breweries. It was one awesome beer, it was drunk at its best aging state as any longer and it would have gone bad. But here it is for your reading pleasure, my review of the Isabelle Proximus.

2011 Review:
How prestigious the occasion to try a beer such as this. I never thought it be possible. A retired beer that is extremely hard to find. Where do I begin to describe this world class oddity of beerdom. The Isabelle Proximus Wild Ale is a massive collaboration of Allaverdogportrush (better known as Allagash, Avery, Dogfish Head, Port Brewing’s Lost Abbey and Russian River Breweries….wooh thats a lot. Put it simply, this beer came out in like 2006 and was only meant to age for some time. In fact it was recommended that this be consumed by this year to get the best freshness out of it. Since I will be taking a vacation soon on beer tasting to focus working out better and eating better, I decided to celebrate my new routine with this cellar treasure. Hey you only live once, so here’s to a long life and to the memories of trying awesome beers. I will be back soon, but what I will do is beer taste in moderation as well. A hobby break but not forgotten….love this hobby …Anyways…about the beer itself. This beer is made with Wild yeast. If you read any of my other postings, wild yeast is used to make these delicious beers have a more sour, winey, like flavor which compliments its already existing ingredients such as malts and hops and other awesome things. Like the Jolly Pumpkin ales . This beer however is a little more special an magical. The balance comes from tart, refreshing and citrus taste. There is some malty sweetness (Dogfish Head) to compliment and some slight bitterness (possibly from Avery or Allagash) as well as the bready goodness (Port and Russian). Story goes that owners of the breweries took a trip to Brussels in Belgium to answer the mysteries of Lambic brews. And so in this bottle that’s what is is. Truly one of the best and most collaborated brews I have ever had and a great way to try my new routine…CHEERS GUYS !!!!!

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey

304305_10101089984459370_2002973560_nRating: 4.5/5

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey is 5%ABV Flanders Red Ale brewed with poppy seeds, cherries and aged in oak barrels.

Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent. 

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.

It has been a while since I last this one. Almost like 2 years. I decided to do another go to see how it is. The fragrance is nice and sour like I remember it. Aromas of cherries, peach, some oak and coffee bread like notes, somewhat flowery, grape, raisins, some vanilla, almost chocolate scent, wine, sweet bread, brown sugar and caramel. The flavors are of immediate tart cherry, wine grapes, peach, apples, vanilla, sour tart cranberries, coffee cake, a little bit of chocolate, raisins, green apples, some slight raisin bread pudding, caramel, some citrus sour and funky notes. This beer is reminiscent of La Roja from Jolly pumpkin except this one is more focused on other different types of flavors other than wine. Sour beer lovers will like this one although for me, while it is still pretty awesome in terms of sours, I have tried other sours like those of JP and were pretty delicious. The Lost Abbey is one of my favorite breweries and their beers are definitely world class 🙂

2011 Review:
Lost abbey Red Poppy ale. Flanders Red Ale brewed with cherries. No head from the pour. Awesome fragrance of cherries, vanilla , and peach immediately overwhelm the nose. The taste is a complex mix of sour tart cherries with oak like after taste. Lost Abbey yeast is also present as usual :P. In short, like smelling and drinking a flower..LOL Red Poppy..desert like brew >:3

Board Meeting by Port Brewing


Rating: 4.8/5

 is an 8.5%BV Brown Ale brewed with Coffee and TCHO Cocoa nibs

It’s 6 AM and you have two appointments on your calendar for today. A Board of Directors meeting at 10 AM requires your attention. But Last night you got the call signaling a dawn patrol session this morning. Surf is out of the west and the swell is building. A morning stop for a cup of Joe on the way to the ocean’s edge has you fueled. Early morning surf report on the radio indicates clean conditions up and down the coast. A Parking lot surf check at the break confirms the conditions are perfect. 

All systems go and your first board meeting of the day looks promising. You trade a neoprene wet suit and a brisk ocean paddle knowing full well later you’s be surrounded by stodgy old men and fussy women sitting in over stuffed leather chairs reviewing corporate minutes as the smell of pastries and burnt coffee hang in the air. It’s a scene that repeats itself year after year . But none of this bothers you anymore. Life taught you early on not all board meetings are created equal. 

New from Port Brewing comes a brown ale unlike some of the brown ales I have had before. This beer is more full bodied like a porter or a stout. But I guess in terms of brown ales I would have to look and see how it would differ. The aromas are of coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, earthy notes, and brown sugar. The flavors are great. It is not as bitter as a porter or a stout in terms of hops and smokeyness. This lets flavors of bakes chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, biscuit bread, coffee cake, brown sugar, hazelnut, berries, figs, and other sweet flavors shine through. The bitterness is very little as it is mostly from the coffee. This beer was so good it was hard not to stop drinking it. It is pretty drinkable and the aftertaste is sweet and nutty. Quite frankly one of the best brown ales I have had in a while. Aside from hazelnut nectar. This is going to be a new beer that will appear regularly. Brown Ale fans will love this one and those that do not like Brown Ales will start to love the style with this one

Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing is a 10%ABV Russian Imperial Stout. This is the second time I try this beer. Both the Oak Aged and regular versions are awesome :P. 


Each year santa works up that famous list. He takes notes of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. To the nice people he brings good cheer. For the people who have been anything but nice, he loads up on big fat lumps of coal. Thankfully, santa knows this is one seriously nice beer. Brewed only once a year since it was first released in 1997, Santa’a Little Helper has been our annual insurance policy against lumps of coal in our stockings. Each year, we look forward to the release of this beer which signals the impending arrival of the jolly old fat man and his merry band of eves. Santa’s Little Helper Imperials stouts is as back as christmas eve with a decidedly smooth finish. We know you’ll find it the perfect companion for chestnuts roasting by an open fire paired with that lump of coal you’ll be receiving.

The easiest way to describe this beer is to say that if you were to take Old Rasputin and collided him with Christmas and made him run gift errands on Christmas Eve, you would have this. Think of a Russian Imperial stout and add Christmas spices to it like nutmeg, cinnamon, cherries and other Christmasy goodness. The flavors of chocolate, coffee and earthy hop bitterness is toned down to release more sweeter flavors. There are notes of cinnamon, cherries, raisins, molasses, vanilla, caramel. However as you keep trying it, there seems to be more chocolate flowing here. Milk, dark, baker and bitter sweet chocolates that flow into a coffee like a mocha. One of the better Christmas beers you will find along with some of the ones I have already reviewed here for sure :). Many places including Bevmo have this around this time of year. Get it before the season ends :P. LOL and you are lucky to find the Oak aged version which was released in he summer, get that too 😀

2011 Review:
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..lol even if its barely gonna be Halloween…lmao!! Anyways. We have here a nice Christmas Imperial Stout. This is the Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing company. Delicious chocolate and coffee flavors like most Imperial Stouts with 10% ABV. However, this beer is heavy in bitterness but there is this delicious note of dry cinnamon and cherry. Like those delicious Christmas chocolates that come out around that time. LOL looks like the guys took some of last years coals left in the stockings to heat and roast up the malts to use in this years beer. Definitely a good present to receive this holiday season…or even before Halloween >:)

High Tide IPA by Port Brewing

ImageFresh Hops High Tide IPA by Port Brewing is their most hoppy and makes bitter lovers happy :P. I get a nice bitter bite form this one. No sweetness here, mainly grassy, piney, citrus, lime and spicy taste. This beer is special as I have not seen this beer anywhere so I had to try it. The beer is made with centennial and simcoe flower hops which are just right at their freshest this time of year. S

o the beer comes out extra strong and bitter :P. Almost thought this was ruination for a sec. This one does give you a chance in terms of complex flavor and not too bitter to overwhelm the taste buds but just enough to compliment the rich flavor.It’s brewed dry so the bitterness comes and goes..LOL just like the crashing tides of the sea as they gently crash the shore. Surely if you are an IPA lover or bitter and hoppy beer seeker, don’t miss this one..because it could be taken back to sea and you may miss your chance to ride this wave 😛