Lakewood's Holiday Bonus Brings A Little Something Extra. Maybe Too Much, Actually.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Lakewood Brewing Company's Holiday Bonus.

Fast Facts on Lakewood Brewing Company Holiday Bonus
Style: Robust Porter.
ABV: 6.6 percent ABV.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 41.
Color: Dark brown/black.
Availability: Seasonal release.

Overview.
Holiday Bonus is a new winter seasonal for Lakewood Brewing Company that starts starts as a Robust Porter before Lakewood's brewers add a bit of orange peel and chocolate to give the beer a bit of a holiday twist. You can find this beer around the Metroplex in bottles and on draft.

Background on Robust Porters.
For an overview on Robust Porters, check out our review of Cedar Creek's Spinning Mule.

Appearance.
Bordering on pure black, Holiday Bonus pours a rich, dark brown color with an exceptionally thick medium-brown head. This head spends some time receding into the glass, leaving nice lacing around the sides.

Aroma.
Faint aromas of chocolate are present here, along with roasted grains, coriander, a touch of orange and a delicate earthy hop aroma.

Flavor.
Holiday Bonus has lots of roasted grain up front, with just a bit of citrus bitterness from the orange peel. Chocolate is present on the back end of the tongue, and it’s not overpowering in the slightest. There are also medium to slightly elevated levels of hop bitterness, no doubt accentuated by the orange peel. But there's not a ton of residual sweetness in this beer — it finishes quite dry — and the roasted grain flavors tend to linger on the tongue for an extended period of time.

Mouthfeel.
This one's got a medium mouthfeel with adequate levels of carbonation for the style.

Overall Impression.
In Holiday Bonus, Lakewood Brewing Company has attempted a somewhat festive take on a robust porter. And, sure, orange peel and chocolate do feel like appropriate flavor additions for the winter season. For me at least, they trigger memories of holidays past where these flavors played big roles in holiday meals, candies and other related foodstuffs (see: Terry’s Chocolate Orange). It's fairly easy to tell, too, that the underlying base beer is well balanced and tasty.

But while the addition of chocolate is a classic modifier for the porter style, I felt that the orange peel addition left a little something to be desired. While it was pleasant on the aroma as a nearly hidden olfactory treat, I felt that the orange peel actually competed with the rest of the beer's flavors more than it augmented them. Furthermore, as the beer warms, these bitter citrus flavors start to overtake the rest of the beer until they eventually become the dominant flavor.

If you happen to like the flavor of bitter oranges, that could be to your liking. Me? I felt the beer could stand to have a bit more balance.

Still, Holiday Bonus is one of the more enjoyable local winter seasonals that I’ve had in some time, and I would gladly recommend as an accompaniment to one of the many upcoming holiday feasts, as the flavors should be quite complementary.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Lakewood Holiday Bonus an 8.

What's happening in the area brew scene? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Wednesday, November 26. Goose Island Bourbon County Tap Takeover at Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community's Legion: 10.
Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas' Thrillla in Brazilla: 9.5.
Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood's Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House's Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver's Bock: 8.
903 Brewers' Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House's Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek's Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers' Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver's High Brass: 7.
Community's Pale Ale: 7.
Martin House's River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery's Sir William's Brown Ale: 7.
Community's Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works' WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort: 5.
Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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