Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holi-Beers

Beer, glorious beer! My apologies to Lionel Bart, but I believe Oliver! and his friends, had they been of drinking age, would have been singing the praises of hops and malt rather than sausage and mustard and cold jelly and custard.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that since we are, once again, in the family way, wine drinking will be shelved and I will turn my attention to providing some beer reviews. Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore. No, that's not what I meant to say. Life is too short for crappy beer. Yes, that's better. Because, honestly, a good beer is just as good as a nice bottle of wine and should be enjoyed and appreciated similarly.

Smuttynose Winter Ale: At the suggestion of TwoBusy, I grabbed this seasonal offering. FYI: all reviews in this post are winter offerings. According to the Smuttynose site, the Winter Ale "is a full-bodied, amber beer brewed with a special Trappist ale yeast. Stylistically reminiscent of a Belgian Abbey Double, it features fruity aromas and flavor, balanced by soft Crystal hops." Yeah, this description just tells me that I have some learnin' to do. I will say that TwoBusy's recommendation was spot-on and it is a very fine beer and great winter brew for holiday parties or just sitting fireside watching the snow fall. It will certainly help you forget the twelve inches of snow in your driveway and the cookie sheet and broomstick you call a shovel waiting for you.

Ipswich Winter Ale: This one I picked up because of the strong showing of the Ipswich IPA, which is quite yummy. Yes, that's beer talk - yummy = more gooder. Yes, more beer jargon. Looks like you need some learnin' too. Anyway, it pours a rich medium brown with a nice head to it. It has a distinct malty aroma and taste and a nice dose of hops, but not overly so. Initial taste is sweet and the finish is a tad bitter, but not off-putting. Another enjoyable beer for this time of year.

Great Divide Hibernation Ale: I've heard great things about Great Divide Brewing, but have never taken the plunge and purchased anything from them. Something about being old and set in ways. But I decided I would allow them the opportunity to introduce themselves to me through their Hibernation Ale. What a great first impression. It's a strong ale that pours a deep red bordering on murky brown. The initial taste was a nice balance of malt and hops. I found that balance quite nice but would have enjoyed a little more hoppiness, but that's just me. That takes nothing away from this beer's goodness. Hibernation is an award-winning beer that also ages very well. Yes, I guess, much like wine, beer can be aged as well, which allows it to develop different character traits over time. See, you learn something new every day. This is not, however, a beer to be taken lightly or shotgunned as it comes in at 8.1% ABV - not too shabby. A very good sippin' beer.


Above Average Joe said...

Try Magic Hat's Roxy Rolles. A great amber for the holidays.

The Holmes said...

This is the second recommendation I've read for Hibernation, I'll have to check that out. I'd recommend Full Sail's Wassail Winter Ale. I'm going to cry when it gets warmer and they're not making this stuff anymore.

Mr Big Dubya said...

Joe: I had the Roxy Rolles - and while it was good and I did like it, it left me wanting something more - compared to the Hibernation, it's really lacking.

Holmes: Just another beer to add to the list. Buy the Hibernation in bulk and then store it for later in the year.

TwoBusy said...

Personally, I enjoyed the Roxy Rolles -- possibly the best thing I've ever tasted from Magic Hat.

Darren said...

Sue just bought us some Smuttynose--we haven't tried it yet though. I've gotta get some of the Hibernation and Roxy Rolles too.

Ashley said... I generally don't like beer (although I've only really had the "cheap stuff)...unless I've already had a shot or two, and then know how it works. So, my question is... if I don't like beer now, will I if I buy the more "expensive" sort...or am I pretty much saying goodbye to beer? lol

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krissy said...

This is my kind of blog! Beer and wine reviews....Perfect.

I've recently became a fan of Boulavards (with a lemon of course). I sadly say that I am not the best beer drinker, as I have to have 2 parts tomatoe juice and olives in most of mine. But, I do like to try new things and Boulavard goes outside the regular Coors or Bud Light routine.

I'll be back for more reviews. Hope you have time to stop by my blog as well, even though it's pretty plain jane and I just entered the blog world!!!