7/25/15: Christmas in July! (Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Winter Ale)

5:11 PM

Merry (summer) Christmas! I've been listening to holiday music all day--well, whenever I've been able--to get into the mood for today's post. My dinning room (where I'm typing this) is currently a nice, balmy 85° so I need any help I could get.

Today's brew is Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Winter Ale. Yes, I know, I know; a winter ale is not a Christmas brew. However, it's nearly August so I'd appreciate it if you'd cut me some slack on this one.

Weyerbacher was founded by Dan and Sue Weirback in Easton, Pennsylvania. They started small in 1995 but, by 1998, the duo had made enough noise to open a brewpub, which continued until Weyerbacher began serious production and distribution in 2001. Since then the company has been growing bigger and bigger.

How much bigger, you ask? Big enough for me to have had one of their brews before! I tried their Merry Monks, Belgian-style triple, when I was in South Carolina visiting a friend. Merry Monks, by the way, is a very good (very strong) beer.

Getting back to the brew at hand, Weyerbacher says Winter Ale is 5.6% ABV, medal-winning, and roasty-flavored with a smooth finish. The official page for the brew gives a pretty interesting history on winter ales (full of information I did not know), and explicitly states that in ye olden days monks would brew winter beers to celebrate the birth of the Messiah. As such, I'm calling this the perfect beer for Christmas in July.

Now that I've told you what the brewery thinks of Winter Ale here's what I think: it's aroma is captivating. This is one of the best beers I've every had grace my above average-sized nostrils. It smells of coffee, butterscotch, chocolate, and caramel. But all of it's aromatic ingredients are so supremely balanced that they're not sweet enought to be pungent. Purrl gave it 7 whiffs so she must like it, too.

The flavor isn't as impeccable as the aroma, but that's to be expected (it smells too good to be true). It has the traditional qualities associated with roasted malts (coffee, chocolate, etc.) but there's an incredible almost candy-like sweetness underlying it all. Seriously, if you purchase some of this take a swig, swish it around in your mouth, and swallow. You'll taste what I'm talking about. It's not overpowering or anything--it actually adds to the ale--it's just something I've never before encountered.

Winter Ale is smooth. Really, really smooth. Almost lager-level smooth. It's great.

This beer reminds me of a time during the winter I was pursuing my master's degree. I had just managed to crawl out of a three-hour discussion-based class alive only to find that, at five o'clock in the evening, Athens was pitch dark.

I was starving and I knew my girlfriend had dinner awaiting at home. But, when I walked by a grocery store on the way home I decided to duck in and grab a quick something to eat. I spent five dollars on a crunchy chocolate bar that was as big as my head and shaped like Santa. I devoured it before I reached my apartment door (and, to this day, I don't think I've told my girlfriend this story). To me, this ale is reminiscent of wading through that cold, winter night with that enormous, delicious candy bar.

I am extremely biased toward Christmas ales. I love Christmas ales. Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Winter Ale is not a Christmas ale; it's better than most Christmas ales. It's a commendable 9.0/10. Buy and consume it on sight.

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