Santa's Private Reserve 2019 Belgian Dark Ale Brewed with Candy Cap Mushrooms

Review Date 1/3/2020  By John Staradumsky


OK, so as I type this, I need to provide a bit of background. Itís the 4th of January, 2020 and I just recently drank a bottle of Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2019, which is why Iím here. It was very wonderful indeed, and after imbibing I was discussing it with a longtime beer pal and comparing it to prior yearís iterations.

One will recall that for many, many years Santaís Private Reserve was perennially a hoppy red ale. The original Rogue Santaís Private Reserve was a staple each Christmas in my beer fridge. In 2017, though, something changed. Santa changed his Private Reserve, magically transforming it into a Belgian dark ale with cherries and raspberries.  It was a truly wonderful beer indeed, and I actually still have a bottle I socked away and may drink soon.

Anyway, as I said I was reflecting upon the 2017 and 2018 versions of Santaís Private Reserve in relation to the latest release. I truly loved the 2017, and the 2018 (which was different again) only a little less so. Anyway, for the 2019 release, Rogue had something truly different in mind. Hereís what they say about it on their website and the bottle:

This year, Santa visited us in Newport and brought along some candy cap mushrooms that he had picked himself. He said they would add a delicious maple flavor to the brew, and boy, was he right. Boasting a deep, sweet maple flavor and aroma, this year's Santa's Private Reserve is certain to bring the holiday cheer.

Candy cap mushrooms? Get out of here! Who ever thought of tossing those in a beer? Rogue, apparently.

Ingredients from the website:

Ingredients: 2 Row, Munich, Brumalt, C-40 & DextraPils Malts; Belgian Candi Sugar, Candy Cap Mushrooms; Rogue Farms Grown Cascade Hops; Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2019 has an alcohol content of 8.1% by volume making it the strongest version yet, if only by a little. It has 20 IBUs and I paid $7.99 for a bomber bottle at Total Wine.

Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2019 pours to a mahogany brown color with a thick rocky tan head and a nose hinting at maple, burnt brown/candi sugar and shitake mushrooms. Taking a sip, I get a deep rich malty beer with hints of toasted nuts, brown sugar, candied dates, maple and shitake mushrooms. Think of a beery version of Brachís Maple Nut Goodies with a handful of mushrooms tossed in-itís all here!

Truly wonderful, 4.5 stars out of 5 I think, but Iíll toss in the extra half for originality and value at the price. Thanks Rogue and Santa! This one really makes it the most wonderful tine for a beer.

Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned