12/25/17: Warped Wing Brewing's Esther's Li'l Secret (2017)

6:41 PM

Merry Christmas! Look at me now. Getting a Christmas post out on Christmas Day. Trust me, I'm as shocked as you.

Did you get a good haul this year? Did you give your loved ones awesome gifts? If you don't celebrate, did you have a fun day of resting/hanging out with friends and/or family? Most importantly, did you eat something delicious today? I hope so!

But, now that the day's winding down I'm sure there's not much left for you to do. Grab your own Christmas beer, throw some logs on the fire, settle in your comfiest chair to read this very special John Likes Beer holiday post of Warped Wing's 2017 Esther's Li'l Secret.

First, here we go again with the net neutrality spiel before getting to the beer itself. I won't let up on this until it goes away. Did you know net neutrality is good for everyone and that the FCC voting to kill it was a very bad thing? Be sure to hit up battleforthenet.com to get educated and contact your representatives--we need to make noise about saving net neutrality because if we don't the government will let it die.

Have you done that? Good. Let's continue your education. Warped Wing is based out of Dayton, OH. They're dedicated to their community and proudly feature their Share a Pint, Make a Difference program. Each month, the partner with a local non-profit organization for fundraising--on Tuesdays a buck from each pint sold goes to that non-profit. It's a great program and a great way for the brewery to give back to the community that's supported their growth!

While there isn't information about Esther's Li'l Secret on Warped Wing's website, there is a pretty detailed story on my can. The name comes from Esther Price, a chocolatier from Dayton. She was passionate about her craft and her ingenuity led to her company being the area's premier chocolate company. Each year, Warped Wing collaborates with Esther Price to make a wholly unique ale. This year's is an 8% ABV white ale brewed with chocolate and vanilla cream.

My can of Esther's Li'l Secret smells like candy. Sure it has an obviously chocolate bouquet, but there's a mintiness there that's layered over that vanilla creaminess. I'm also finding something akin to a pineyness before it's all rounded out with an every so slight caramel wash. I cannot overstate how much Purrl enjoyed this can--she gave it a whopping ten deep whiffs before hopping off my chair. Later on, when presented with can a second time, she enjoyed it's aroma again.

The ale has an interesting flavor, to say the least. In the beginning of my swig I get a wallop of that vanilla cream touted on the can. Before the finish (which, spoilers!, is chocolate that lingers in your mouth for a good long time), there's a candy sweetness which serves to add to that authenticity of the beer in my can.

Esther's Li'l Secret is, like the best chocolates, hefty yet silky smooth. It's honestly the beer version of a good milk chocolate filled with vanilla cream.

When my brother and I were kids (and, to be perfectly honest, teenagers) my parents didn't want to be woken up before dawn on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, the two of us weren't allowed to tear into the gifts under the tree until Mom and Dad were awake and active, with mugs of coffee in their hands.

As a compromise, my parents agreed that stockings could get broken into at six a.m. So, at six on every December 25th, my alarm would go off, I'd rouse my brother from his bed, and we'd head downstairs and dump our stockings onto the floor. There'd be little boxes of Legos and tons of candy. I'd regularly have some Reese's and chocolate-covered marshmallows. My brother had chocolate-covered mallows, too (I'm sure he got something else but don't remember what it was because I never really paid attention to his stocking).

Shortly after inhaling our first few pieces of candy, Mom would wake up and Dad was never far behind (this was always long before sunrise--I guess they couldn't contain their Christmas excitement, either). They'd get coffee going and we'd break into the presents under the tree in earnest. Those early, candy-fueled Christmas mornings are what this year's Esther's Li'l Secret brings to my mind.

Sure, Warped Wing's Esther's Li'l Secret isn't your traditional Christmas ale. It's not excessively boozy. It's not spicy. But it is is a fantastic winter warmer with a pleasant chocolate spin. I'm giving it an 8.5/10. It's safe to say that this will be a Christmastime staple post around these parts from here on out.

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