Friday, February 8, 2013
Smuttynose Winter Ale
Passing on the typical gimmicks of winter ales (such as super high alcohol content and exotic spicing), the always steady Smuttynose gives us a different kind of cold weather brew. The use of a Trappist ale yeast, along with predominantly fruity notes, makes this beer somewhat similar to a Belgian double. Yet it's not quite a Belgian double. It might be closer to a brown ale, actually. And to be honest, I think I'd take a brown ale over a Belgian double at least six days a week. Either way, this is a damn fine beer. It's less in-your-face than a lot of winter ales (sometimes with winter beers, "warming" just means it'll knock you out if you drink more than one). The flavors are quite nice: lots of dark fruit and brown bread notes with some caramel, and it's got a good solid Crystal hop bitterness to even things out. So it's a little sweet, but by no means a lot sweet. And at 5.83 ABV, this is way more sessionable than your typical winter ale. It's great to drink one or two with dinner on a cold night. Although I generally consider myself a huge fan of winter ales, there are a lot of them that I don't like. This one, while not anything that's going to wow the palate, is wicked smooth and enjoyable to the last drop. I'd give it a B+.