I have a seasonal beer (gasp!) up for review today. If you remember, I went a full year without purposely seeking out seasonable beers, and I’m ready to stop limiting my choices. I saw The Gift a few weeks ago and picked up a few bottles. The Gift is brewed by Starr Hill Brewery of Crozet, Va. The bottle says that it is a Bock, but their website narrows it down a bit more and calls it a Hellerbock. I honestly have no idea what the difference is.
The Gift pours a nice clear orange color and has a quickly fading, thin white head. The nose is very lager. It has some bready notes followed by some slight sulfur. Other than that, there really isn’t a lot going on in the nose department.
On the first taste I really noticed the malt flavors. It has a nice honey-like sweetness that is mixed with a toasty flavor. The combination is time tested and works wonderfully. There are some hops that come in towards the end but they are not crisp. The hops do not remove the sweetness entirely, but instead just help cut it down a bit to better balance the beer. The sweetness is a bit much for me personally.
I enjoyed this beer. I would like this beer to be a little less The Cranberries and linger a less then it does. It’s a solid example of a Bock and I assume a Hellerbock. I’m kind of a beer nerd if you haven’t noticed (post #584 on this site) but I am not familiar with the Hellerbock style. This beer makes me want to do some more research and I thank Starr Hill for alerting me to something that I didn’t know existed.