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Beer Review #94 Gearys’ Winter Ale

I first had a D.L. Geary Brewing Company beer when my at the time girlfriend and I were doing a road trip through the northeast. The at the time girlfriend turned into my wife and we still enjoy a good Geary Brewing Company beer from time to time. Our first ale from this company was in Portland, Maine, home of Geary and we had a few others during out trip though the various states of the northeast. I remember them being straightforward beers that delivered on what they promised.

Geary’s Winter Ale was something that I hadn’t had a chance to try on our road trip and I jumped a the chance to try it when I saw it at my local beer store. It pours a deep amber color and comes with a wispy tan head. It is classified as an English IPA, which I though a bit odd, but strangely fitting for a winter beer. The nose didn’t present itself as an IPA, rather as a malty, complex ale. It had some hints of coffee along with some wonderful dried fruit aromas. I didn’t get any noticeable hops from the nose.

On the first taste I was shocked at how much this beer tasted like toffee. I’ve never had a beer that tasted like toffee as much as this beer did. There was some coffee mixed in there as well and it all combined to make a wonderfully balanced ale. I found it to be very enjoyable. My only complaint is that it is a bit on the rich side, so I couldn’t drink a ton of these without having something to breakup the toffee. It comes in at 6.00% ABV so it isn’t overpowering on the alcohol scale. Try it out if you see it, especially if you like malty, sweet beers. (more…)

Beer Review #93 Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

One of the best parts about living on the east coast again is that I get to enjoy River Horse Brewing Company beers. I reviewed their Tripel when I was just starting this site and a few months ago I tasted their fall beer. When I saw their winter ale, Belgian Freeze, I grabbed it right up. I’ve had a few of their other beers that I enjoyed before starting this site and I have two of their current beers in the fridge, so needless to say, I enjoy the majority of their products.

River Horse is brewed in Lambertville, New Jersey and I really need to get up there for a tour. Anyway, onto the beer. Belgian Freeze is a Belgian style ale (shocker) that falls into the dark ale sect of Belgian beers. It pours a wonderful deep ruby color that has a thin, whiteish head floating on top. The nose is pretty sweet, with the classic Belgian spices in there as well. There is a slight roast, which is mostlikely where the color comes from and some heat.

On the first sip I was surprised how nicely the roasted malt flavor mixed with the Belgian spices. It was sweet, as the nose suggested, but it was not cloyingly sweet. There was some heat on the back-end for good measure. I really liked this one. For an 8% beer it goes down pretty easy. The highlight of this beer is the way that the roasted malt and Belgian spices mix. It was unique and interesting, which made me want to enjoy more of this beer. Too bad it is so high in the ABV department because I would love to drink this beer all winter long. (more…)

Beer Review #92 Goose Island Mild Winter

I have a Goose named brewery who’s beer you can actaully buy for you today. Unlike our last Goose beer, Goose Island Beer Company of Chicago, Illinois  is happily in business, and making some quality beer. The brewery classifies their beer as an American Mild Ale and other sources have it listed as a rye beer. Who knows, who cares, as long as it tastes good.

Mild Winter pours a nice amber color and has a fluffy off-white head. When you hear mild in beer terms, you should expect something on the malty end of things, and from my experience, something pretty dry. The nose on this beer did not disappoint. IT was super malty, toasty, bready, and full of biscuit. I love beers that smell like this.

The taste has some good toasty flavors fully by a nice hop-bite. There is some nice roastiness in there as well. It really finishes dry, and leaves a great aftertaste. Mild Winter is a really solid winter ale. It isn’t dark or heavy but it delivers. I could drink this thing all winter long and at 5.6% I could do so for a while. Try it out if you have the chance. (more…)

Beer Review #91 Snow Goose Winter Ale

I will appoligize in advance for this beer review. The reason: the brewery it is made at is closed. Snow Goose Winter Ale was brewed by Wild Goose Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland. When I heard the name of the town where it was brewed I knew that another brewery was located there as well, Flying Dog. Apparently Flying Dog purchased Wild Goose in 2006 and shutdown the brewery at some point recently. The reason, Flying Dog is so heavily in demand that they didn’t have the capacity to brew the Wild Goose brand. It’s a shame too, this is a solid beer.

I read a story that they are looking to find someone to contract brew the beer I am about to review along with their IPA. I hope all goes well for them because Wild Goose has been around since the start of the craft beer movement. On to the beer (that you can’t have).

Snow Goose Winter Ale is a classic English style Winter Warmer. It pours with a deep ruby to amber color. A whiteish head accompanies the beautiful color of the beer. The nose is remarkably malty with lots of toasty aromas coming from the glass. There is a lot of caramel in there as well. There are no hops to speak of from my nose’s perspective.

The taste follows the nose for a bit and then takes you by surprise. The nice malt flavor is there with plenty of biscuit to go around and the a really wonderful hop flavor hits home. It is so well balanced that I was taken aback. I was expected a nicely bodied beer that had some good toasty flavors, but the hops came in and dried it out. Lovely.

This beer has a lot more to offer than what the nose would lead you to believe. I love toasty beers, and this one does a great job of delivering on that promise. And at 6.3% ABV, it doesn’t rock your socks off. I really hope they find a home for this beer soon, because it is a solid Winter Warmer. (more…)

Beer Review #90 Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale

We had a good bit of snow fall yesterday here in northern Delaware and snowfall makes winter ales so much more enjoyable. Today’s winter ale comes from Anderson Valley Brewing Company located in Mendocino, California. I never heard of this brewery when I purchased a bottle of this beer so I was excited/hesitant to try it. As a sidenote for any of our new readers, I don’t look at any of the beer review websites before purchasing a beer. I simply go into the store and get what looks interesting. I don’t understand the point of looking at beer reviews before shopping, I think it could skew your opinion of the beer (for better or worse).

This winter seasonal ale comes in a bit darker than my last review, coming in at a “burnt amber.” It is perfectly clear and has a think off-white head to go along with the beer. The nose has lots of dried fruit, with a slightly sour ending. I also got a lot of malt in the nose. It smelled rich.

With all of the malt on the nose I was expecting a really thick, chewy beer, but it was very light. The first thing I thought of when I drank this beer was how light it was upfront. The dried fruit flavors kick in about halfway though the taste. A nice spicy end accompanies the rest of the flavors. This beer comes in at 6.9% and it again surprises me that a beer this think comes in at a higher level ABV. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is a drinkable beer but for my likings, I think this one would get old quickly. (more…)