Quick Review: Weyerbacher – Winter Ale

Featuring my holiday glass and moose

Weyerbacher is a brewery I haven’t really experimented with too much.  Looking at their year round releases, the only one I can say I’ve had for sure if their Double Simcoe ipa.  There may have been a few others along the way, but I just haven’t tried a lot of their stuff.  This particular beer interested me for the pure fact that it was a winter ale that I have never had before.  Well that wasn’t the only reason.  The label is quite fun as well.  I saw it while forming a six-pack in Virginia beach, and it actually was one of the first that I picked up.

A little strange information involving my knowledge of Weyerbacher.  I’m not saying I thought it was an import, but over the break I searched for Pennsylvania breweries I could visit while traveling around, and I was surprised to find that this one is brewed in my wife’s home state.  I would have had no clue they were a PA brewer if I hadn’t looked into it.  I guess I assumed that their name meant it came from somewhere else.  A brief little research on their site explained to me where the name came from.  Evidently this is their families last name, and they decided to use it as the name of their brewery.  Being of German descent as well, I’m more than happy to see the name live on in the craft beer industry.

Appearance: This one pours a very dark brownish black color with a very slight hint of red.  I wasn’t thinking this one would pour quite so thick, but I really had no basis for that.  A nice thick white head develops on top.  The head is pretty much continuous as it doesn’t disappear for nearly the entire tasting.  It’s definitely too dark for clarity, but there is some visible carbonation in it.

Smell: The smell is quite crisp and clean.  It has a slightly Belgian citrus feel to it, but there are definitely spices present on the nose as well.  I get a slight bit of dark fruit in here as well.  There are definitely some sweet malts here with some type of chocolate in the mix as well.

Taste: The malty sweet intro is quite short, but it is met quickly by a little slight hint of hops.  Hidden behind the hops is a really mellow blend of spices.  They are certainly there, but they sit back a little more, and they intensify slightly as the beer warms.  As the spices mellow there is a sweet toffee caramel finish that leads into a surprisingly clean and easy aftertaste.

Mouth: There is a very ample supply of carbonation to this beer that may be slightly overpowering.  The carbonation does manage to mellow out as the beer warms, which explains why the spices don’t seem to be too dominant until the beer warms.  There really is no syrupy quality here at all, and for the most part, I would say it’s pretty clean from start to finish.

I have tried quite a few winter and christmas ales over the past month or two, and really, this one just seems to hit a mediocre note with me.  It definitely wasn’t a bad beer, but I have had winter ales I just prefer more.  I doubt I would be picking this one up again, but I will be checking out more things from Weyerbacher in the future.

Teacher Grade: B-

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