Thursday, February 9, 2012

Garrison Brewing - Winter Warmer Seasonal Ale

ABV 6.5% (Bottled)

From the Bottle


"Specially brewed with cloves, cinnamon & demerara suger, this festive strong ale will have you dreaming of snowy days and winter nights. Cheers!"

The History

"Garrison introduced the craft beer movement to Nova Scotians and visitors alike. Today Garrison brews a variety of full flavored, all natural, preservative free ales. Each glass represents a tribute to the art of hand-crafting ales with the finest natural ingredients." They have a very nice homepage at http://www.garrisonbrewing.com/homepage.html

Now you know

"Demerara (Dutch: Demerary) was a region in South America in what is now Guyana that was colonised by the Dutch in 1611. The British invaded and captured the area in 1796. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown. Demerara sugar is so named because originally it came from sugar cane fields in the colony of Demerara." Wikipedia


The Pour

Pours ale brown/amber and reveals some richer red up against a light. One finger off-white head that is gone quickly. It sits very clear and still with very little carbonation in the glass. A very English looking ale.

Aroma

You can really smell the spice of the cloves and the sweetness of the sugar and malts. Almost sweet like cherry jello. I unfortunately didn't get the cinnamon but it could be mixed in with the generally spiciness.

Taste

Smooth light bodied mouth-feel with mild unobtrusive carbonation. Just enough to give it some life. Flows over the tongue almost like a light beer it's so smooth. I think this may be my first session winter warmer! Little to no aftertaste, it's gone as soon as it passes over your tongue which makes it very drinkable, if not as complex as some other warmers. It does lose a bit of it's warming character because of the lower alcohol level, which is a shame. However, I am getting a subtle burn/heat in my mouth as I work my way through the bottle, I think this could be a mix of the cloves and cinnamon, it's reminiscent of the heat of ginger, which is quite a pleasant development.

Overall Impressions

Very little heat, very British in style. A bit of a nice change from really strong winter beers that hit you over the head. Although it is not very complex, it leaves your palete open to appreciate the spices that make it a 'warmer'. And since it doesn't have the usual heat due to the low ABV, I think Garrison has struck a very nice balance here between spice and alcohol. A session-able winter warmer is a new experience for me. Charming in it's simplicity. I would rate this ale a B+. If they had this at the pub on tap (or in the bottle), I would definitely be excited on a cold night. I'm really looking forward to cracking my Spruce Beer and their Black IPA in the coming months.

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