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Beer Review #264 Winter Ale

01-24-03After my last experience with Weyerbacher Brewing Company I made it a point to go out and try more of their beer. Since it is FREAKING COLD OUT, a winter ale seemed appropriate. While this beer’s label reminds me more of Christmas, I was still happy to see the sight of snow. At 5.6% this beer is on the low end for the normally high alcohol winter beers.

Winter Ale pours a nice brown to dark caramel color. It’s wonderfully clear and it looks wonderful in the light. The light tan head that comes with the pour quickly fades to just a thin layer. The nose is packed with rich malt. In particular I noticed lots of caramels and toffee. There are some bread tones in there as well. Finally, a winter beer that smells like a winter beer!

The taste follows what the nose promises. On my first taste I get lots of caramels and sweetness up front. There is a flat bitterness on the back end that was nondescript. The bitterness does not totally balance this one out and it stays a little sweet. The beer finishes with a note of bread, which I always enjoy. What I did find interesting in this beer is that it tingles on the back of the tongue.

This beer is more along the lines of what I think of when I try a winter beer. Rich and malty and a slow sipper. It’s not packed with alcohol and that’s cool in my book. I really like a malty, fully flavored beer in the winter. It just gives you a warm, full feeling that is enjoyable when it is FREAKING COLD OUT. (more…)

Beer Review #173 Goose Island Christmas Ale 2011

Last winter I enjoyed Goose Island Beer Company’s Mild Winter and/or Snow Goose. The beer I had last year is not the only winter seasonal they make, Goose Island, for Chicago, Illinois, has also been making a Christmas Ale for a number of years. Just like Anchor Steam, they change the recipe each year “so that you have something to look forward to each year.” The bottle mentions that this beer is an American Brown Ale and “develops in the bottle up to five years.” I only bought two, and they were both drank within days of each other so that five year plan isn’t going to have a chance in my house.

This years Christmas offering pours a nice caramel color and a light tan head rests on top of the liquid. The nose isn’t very complex with some caramel and slight biscuit odors. I didn’t find any hops, which I was expecting for an American Brown Ale.

On the first taste the caramel that has been prevalent throughout the other criteria is present as well. There is some slight toffee mixed in the malt flavor as well. There is a flavor that kicks in about half way through the beer, but I’m coming up with  a loss of words for how to describe it properly. I assume it was the hops coming in, but they were mixed with a richer flavor, almost chocolate. The hops really didn’t kick in anything major to the flavor of the beer, but the light touch kept it from becoming overly sweet.

I didn’t find this one overly aggressive in any respect. The malt is there and the hops come in to lightly brush back the sweetness. Goose Island Christmas Ale 2011 comes in at 6.2% ABV. I might go back and grab a few bottles to age and see how it ages, but as it stands, it doesn’t do much for me. Maybe next year’s will be more suited to my palette. (more…)

Beer Review #81 Shiner Holiday Cheer

I made my first post about Shiner almost two years ago to the day. Shiner is one of the big Texas beers and at the time I was getting ready to move to Texas. Since that time, I’ve lived in Texas, and come back east and now live in Delaware. Surprisingly I can get this beer in Delaware. Shiner is brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery out of Shiner, Texas. On my last post about Shiner beer Lee from I Love Beer suggested that I try their Holiday Cheer. So I did.

Shiner Holiday Cheer pours a burnt amber color with a light tan head that quick fades back into the ale. It pours crystal clear as well. The nose is pretty interesting. The bottle says that it is an “ale brewed with peaches and pecans and with natural flavor and caramel color.” That’s a lot of “ands’.” The nose is peachy for sure. I didn’t really get anything else other than peach. The peach is super bright and vibrant. Most “fruit” beers don’t offer fresh smells, this one does. It also smelled like a fruit gum.

The taste doesn’t have a lot upfront. Peaches kick in during the middle part of the taste and continue through the rest of the beer. There is some nice biscuit in there as well. It has some slight nut character to it as well. I like it. The mouthfeel is light to watery, but it fits this beer nicely. It is a drinkable beer but I always fall into a trap with beers with fruit in them. The trap is that they are usually sweet and get undrinkable quickly. For my tastes, one glass was enough. It was easy enough drinking for more, but the sweetness would get to me. The side benefit is that I am going to be burping peaches for the rest of the day. Try it if you want something unique and easy drinking. (more…)