People have been hating on this beer lately, but I suppose that happens with all craft brews that are marketed well and are, therefore, very successful. Anyway, in Mississippi, New Belgium is unfortunately not sold yet. So, I had to pick it up in Memphis.
I got it in the can, as I am a firm believer that most beers (especially this one) taste better from a can. I don’t know if it’s the can conditioning, or the lack of sunlight reaching the beer, or the simple fact that it tastes colder, but I love it.
So, the beer itself is, in my opinion, the standard example of an amber ale. It’s not as complex as a porter or an IPA, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s just a good, crisp, drinkable ale, suitable for tailgating at a football game, doing yard work, or just sitting at the house watching T.V. This beer would be my go to and I would keep it stocked if only it were available in my home state (hint hint New Belgium..)
For the past few months, I’ve chosen to use Untappd in lieu of blogging. It is a great app/social networking site, and it was convenient to not have to write a blog post after every new beer. However, like twitter, there is a max of 160 characters, and that is, unfortunately, nowhere near enough space for my eloquent musings on that most ancient of drinks: beer. And so, the blogging will now begin again. I’m sure this will make all six of my followers very happy. I’ll be writing of new beers, but also some favorites I had over the “break”. So, without further ado, here is my latest review.
INNIS & GUNN Winter Beer (2012)
First I should say that you cannot get this beer in Mississippi (I know, against my original stated purpose). But, you can get it in Memphis, which is about an hour away from Oxford. I recently picked some up at Joe’s Wine and Liquor which, incidentally, employed my father-in-law while he was in college.
This special edition beer comes from a Scottish brewery I had never heard of, but they seem to be high quality. The Winter Beer – with a “vintage” of 2012 – is called a “Porter brewed with Molasses” on the bottle. As you can see from the picture, it’s light for a porter. In fact, lighter than any porter I’ve ever seen. Beer Advocate calls it an English Porter – a style I like but just don’t see it with this brew. I would classify this beer as an English Old Ale, as there’s not much of the chocolate character you usually get with a porter. The molasses gives this beer a very sweet mouthfeel, but it’s balanced by a subtle hop profile. Overall, it is a very good (not to mention unique) ale. I will certainly be trying the 2013 Winter beer when it comes out.
I am a big fan of this beer, but I suppose at 7.4% abv and two in, I’ll pretty much be a fan of anything. If you ever get the chance to pick some up, I highly recommend. Cheers!