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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…)

Beer Review #89 Stoudt’s Winter Ale

Stoudt’s Brewing Company is one of my local favorites. I reviewed their Oktoberfest last last year and enjoyed it a good bit. Their Winter Ale is another beer that has a different recipe each year, much like Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale. I’ve had the 2008 and 2009 versions of this ale and enjoyed them very much. This year’s version comes in a little lighter in ABV, sitting at 6.0%.

Amber is the color that this ale pours. It is perfectly clear and has a nice off-white head that goes along with it. The nose is nice and complex. It is hoppy with some slight heat, which is surprising for a 6.0% beer. I got a lot of dried fruit with some hidden caramel notes. There is also a nice roasty aroma that sits in the background. The more this beer warms up the more complex it gets.

The taste is very malty upfront, which is something that Stoudt’s does with all of their winter beers. There is some heat in the flavor as well. The end was hoppy and spicy. I’m not sure if the spice came from the hops or if it was added in from a third party source. The malty flavor is pretty close to what the nose has to offer. This beer is pretty thick as well. I found it pretty drinkable and it serves as a good example of a Stoudt’s beer. I might be a bit biased, but I haven’t had a bad beer from this brewery, ever. (more…)

Beer Review #88 K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Another winter beer review and another beer from the state of Maryland. Today’s winter seasonal comes from Flying Dog Brewery from Frederick, Maryland. This is not a brewery I am not unfamiliar with as you can tell from my Week of Flying Dog reviews.

Flying Dog’s winter offering pours a nice caramel color with an off-white head. It is perfectly clear and has plenty of bubbles that you can watch rise into the head (that sounds dirty). The nose is pretty straightforward; dried fruit and a bready smell. Simple and enjoyable are two words that I would use to describe the smell of the beer.

The flavor has a lot more packed into it than the nose would suggest. There is a nice dark caramel flavor, almost a burnt caramel that offers a good amount of malty sweetness to the beer. It is also a bit nutty which accents the slightly roasty backend. The toasty/bready aroma that I mentioned earlier is also present in the taste. What I really liked about this beer is that it ended on a very crisp note. Most beers that have a lot of malt flavor seem to stay on the tongue for awhile.

I really like this beer for the winter time. It comes in at 7.4% ABV so it provides that warming feeling. The roasty notes in the flavor profile make me feel like I should be drinking this beer around a campfire. I enjoyed it a good deal and I think you might as well. (more…)