Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale
This beer was not what we were expecting as it smells less like a traditional winter ale, but instead like an Oktoberfest/Marzen lager. Tasting more like a lager than an ale, we noticed lots of malt tones with a touch of skunk and an odd hop water flavor.
Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale
The nose has a nice malty and resiny characteristic with a slight sugary sweetness. The palate has a slight hop spice to it and seems to lack traditional warming spices. Travis felt this beer had a lingering nutmeg that dried out his mouth, and the banana bread was subtle to missing.
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale
The heavy toffee nose drew us in on first sniff with hints of licorice and an overall sweetness. On the palate we continue to taste toffee, but also pick up some currant notes, however the overall flavor is similar to the crystalized sugar found on a homemade sugar cookie with a touch of caramel stuck in the cookie.
Sierra Nevada Winter Warmer
The nose is mostly a light Anderson Valley Winter Solstice with very slight smoke. The smoke is not noticable in the flavor, but this reminds us of a watered down Anderson Valley with a touch more cinnamon. The spices linger in a way that is not altogether pleasant.
Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale
Ginger greets your nose right off the bat, masking most other aromas. Flavorwise, freshly grated ginger is the dominant flavor with slight honey on the backend and touch of cinnamon heat.
Highlands Brewing Cold Mountain
Chocolate and vanilla aromas are strong with this beer with only the slightest hint of hazelnut. Vanilla hits the tongue first with cinnamon, hazelnut, and slight chocolate. This beer is a bit thinner than expected, however it comes in many variants would be great to try.
Final Thoughts and Beer of the Night
Because the style is ill-defined there is a great variety within winter warmers. We do think they are great for the colder months without the heaviness of a stout or porter, but would be terrible in the summer months. We highly recommend trying a variety of breweries versions, as they will all be different. Our beer of the night was the Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale.
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