You know how the Pretty Things Baby Tree label creeped me out? This one actually made me turn it around so it didn’t freak me out each time I opened the fridge and saw the devil-lizard-monkey staring at me. According to the label, the Krampus is a European mythical figure that acts as the opposite figure to St. Nick at Christmas – a “Christmas Devil” if you will that beats naughty children with “stick and chains.” Wow. No wonder I was freaked out.
So, back to he beer itself. This is an “Imperial Helles Lager” and I’ll admit I haven’t had many described as that style. It’s hard to find good German styles in the craft beer world, so this one is a domestic attempt at one with a “diabolical spirit.” Usually I’m not into really crisp lagers with bite, so I was curious to see what this one would bring.
The smell of this is certainly intimidating. Skunky and resinous (almost dirty feet) hops smells. Behind that are a really nice wet hop smell and some sweet and sticky notes. Really interesting to smell… if you can stand it without blowing out your nostrils.
The taste is also very interesting – a lot to go on there. Lots of hops, but what’s really nice about this one is that it has a great malty backbone. It’s sweet underneath that aggressive layer of hops. It’s a really nice beer – I had this in New York City and it was great fresh and crisp off the tap, but it was also great a little warmer out of the bottle at home. I think if you can get over the hump of the assaulting hops on the front end, you’ll be rewarded with the surprisingly smooth finish (and just a little touch of caramel flavorings) on the back end.