Friday, December 23, 2011

The First Beer of Xmas Old Man Winter Gave to Me, a 50 degree day in December... ?

Southern Tier
Old Man Winter Ale
Brewed with 3 varieties of hops, and 2 malts
Limited Seasonal – released in November
7.7% abv

Southern Tier is responsible for Pumking, one of my favorite launch pumpkin beers and the winner of the McGrath and Stinchon 2011 pumpkin beer taste off which also happened to take place on my birthday. (UNFOTUNATELY because it was my birthday … we moved on to heavier things and the beer bracket was taped to my sister’s fridge. ANNND there it remains … along with an overdue November beer blog post – sorry Tony!!)

I like Southern Tier. They put out bold, flavorful, in your face beers. I have never had a Southern Tier beer and thought 'ehh … so what?' I either love them or hate them. So when I saw Old Man Winter at the packie I thought, alright, let’s give it a go.

First let’s do some research, to the website:
With the onset of winter, the brewer’s mind turns to providing warmth. For our winter seasonal, we offer a rich and complex amalgam of hops and barley that will put the feeling back in your toes and lift your spirits above the snow. OMW throws a deep and inviting hue with a thickness that clings to the glass and the warmth of an open flame. Because of its high alcohol content, Old Man is a heady brew that encourages sipping and pondering its essential richness. Drink it fresh now, or cellar a few bottles to see how this old man becomes wiser with age.

Now to the beer.

The Pour:
Two fingers of fluffy foam with lots of big bubbles. A nice lace is sticking to the glass and it’s a clear amber color, pretty light for a winter beer.

The nose:
Very hoppy. It’s grassy, bready, cannabis like (hey they are cousins), I also get clove and smoke (… hmm, am I at Dave Matthews Band concert?)

Follows suit with the smell. Very earthy, hoppy flavor. It’s a dry, medium bodied mouth feel. The smoky malts cover your tongue with a bite at the end. Dry mouth anyone …? Yes, that resin flavor is here. I also get some pine. I have to say, for a hop-head in training, this is very drinkable and biscuity. I usually don’t like a strong hop flavor but this isn’t overly aggressive. I bet on draught this would be so much better. I know, all beers are better on tap, but I feel like it would make a huge difference here.

Something salty. Right now I am craving a prosciutto Panini, something with salty meat and buttery focaccia bread. I am thinking hearty sandwich or a big bacon cheese burger (or is that just the DMB munchies talking? … just kidding)

Overall I would give this beer a B. Honestly it’s the first time that I haven’t LOVED or HATED a Southern Tier beer, so cheers to that. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Stay tuned for the cousin tag-team toast and review on Christmas.

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