We are in St. Louis this weekend for the holidays, and today, we’re at a party at my aunt and uncle’s house to meet my cousin Steve’s baby daughter Harper. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I visited Steve last fall and he took me to a number of breweries around Seattle. He and I share an appreciation for good beer, and so my aunt bought some local craft beers for us “beer snobs.”
Location: Poured into a clear plastic cup at aunt and uncle’s home in St. Louis, MO.
Numbers: 8.0% ABV, 30 IBUs, 18.2 OG, 20 SRM, ~240 Calories
Ingredients: Grains: Pale, Caramel, Munich, Chocolate, Honey; Hops: Hallertau (DE); Spices: Orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves; Yeast: American Ale
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark amber-red in color and had a thin head that fell to just a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the cup. There’s a caramel malty aroma with hints of clove and cinnamon.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is fairly smooth. Up front, there’s a nice warm caramel malt sweetness. In the middle, a range of spices enters the picture, with tastes of ginger, clove, and cinnamon like flavors. There’s a mostly clove and nutmeg like flavor in the finish with the caramel maltiness tucked away distantly in the background. There are cinnamon and clove like flavors that last for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: It’s a holiday beer with a lot of spices and flavors in it, and therefore, I’d go with something like turkey that could cut down on the spices a bit. I think a lightly seasoned pork dish, such as pork chops or tenderloin could also cut through this and complement the spices as well.
Overall Impression: I really enjoyed the warm caramel maltiness, but the spices were a bit too much for me. While warming and seasonal, I didn’t like the mix of flavors they provided. Overall, it seemed like a pretty good base beer, but the spices made it a bit over the top for my liking.