We’ve just about run out of winter, at least here in the Tri-State Area, so I have to rush to get in the last winter beers.
This is a brown ale with a brief off white head, as malty as an English ale should be. The flavor gives full-bodied caramel and toffee with a lightly roasty undertone and moderate English style hops (the notes say Mt Hood & Northern Brewer). It has a nice caramel finish dried by hops. 7.4% ABV
“A celebratory wheat ale” this pours cloudy straw with a generous foamy white head. The nose is yeasty and estery with banana and stone fruit plus a distinct but subtle spiciness. On the palate comes sparkly refreshment with a touch of cloved orange. The finish is long and lightly spicy with almost a hint of cinnamon, dry, but retaining that estery quality all the way. 6.7% ABV
“Winter Spiced Ale,” dark brown in the glass with a moderate off tan head and an aroma of spiced fruit bread. The mouthfeel is soft, the flavor is earthy, almost meaty, with roasted grain and dark malts. The finish gets very dry as substantial hops come in, a nice finishing bite. On further sips, sweetness develops in the flavor and spice increases on the finish. This is a 50-degree ale, not a 40-degree brew. 7.9% ABV 45 IBU
“Oatmeal stout winter ale,” this pours opaque brownish black with a persistent moderate tan head. The aroma is so roasty it almost crosses to tobacco, then come rich malt and a hint of smoke. The flavor starts with smoke, almost ashy, with malt building in. It makes me think of rauchbier and that persists into the finish. Never sweet, it dries out more on the end. 5.3% ABV
A Backstage Series beer, a Black IPA, this delivers maple syrup & bourbon, inky brown with a brief off tan head. It delivers a rich bourbon nose over deep malt, then a maple-and-malt flavor blending with the bourbon then persisting into finish getting sweeter. 10.8% ABV
“Ale brewed with honey and cherries,” it pours clear chestnut with almost no head, just a light pinkish ring. The nose? Cherry soda with a hint of biscuit malt. The aroma left the expectation of cherry soda and the flavor is not far from that, just adding a base of malt and a smooth layer of honey. The finish holds both cherry and honey but adds a spicy hop note. Pleasant sipping and good follow up to the Great Lakes. 11% ABV and not a hint of that strength. This stuff could be dangerous!
It has been a mild winter of good beer, let’s look forward to a nice spring with more of the same!