Ed. Note: This is the second beereview from our new resident hopsnob hopulist, timmy.
Harpoon Brewery – Boston, MA / Windsor, VT
Harpoon’s Winter Warmer – An American Winter Warmer Ale
Christmas time is finally here / lots of laughter / lots of cheer, until that is you drink this beer and your mouth it feels particularly queer.
Most people (I call them idiots) don’t even think of beer on a COLD winter night. For them, the opposite is the norm… the quintessential cold, crystal clear lager on a HOT summer day. But for me, the Winter Warmer style is as good as a scorching mug of hot chocolate. The style is predominated by dark, malty, thick, complex beers with an appropriately tamed hop bite. The high(er) alcohol contents usually give a warming effect, just like a good shot of brandy. So, keep reading and all, but this one’s a bit of an insult to the style.
12oz. bottle from a case that my girlfriend got at Total Wine in Landmark/Annandale VA. Not the first time I’ve had this. No date on the bottle. 🙁
The Look: was amber. 1″ head that hung on for a couple minutes.
My Nose: was punched with nutmeg. Second time around brought some cinnamon and honey, too. Jesus, that’s strong.
Dang, the taste is ridiculous. Water and nutmeg. Water and cinnamon. The aroma from this guy would be more acceptable if it sat over a crazy, complex, supremely nutmeg-y beer. But it doesn’t. The taste falls flat on what’s really just a mild ale, dominated by an amateur-ish (sorry, but seriously) dose of spices.
The Feel: was too thin for the taste. I really just want more depth to the beer. In taste and feel, it definitely needs to put on more weight before next season, if I’m ever going to invest in it again.
Drinknessableness: Umm, I could drink a lot of these since they’re pretty thin and the ABV’s reasonable. But I’m not sure that I want to. On the counter-point, my girlfriend loves these things. And since it’s opened her up to trying other beers, I’ve gotta respect it on some level.
All-in-all, I was disappointed by the WW. I don’t like talking trash, but I think Harpoon knows better than this. Winter beers are all about one million subtle, comfortable flavors keeping your taste buds guessing, but this one tells all it’s secrets. More weight, more depth, and a little demure would take this beer a long way.
Previously on ES: Stone Ruination IPA.