Saturday, November 14, 2009
Winter ales early: Harpoon Winter Warmer
The beer companies are just as bad as the big box retailers. Winter has not officially started yet and the winter beers are flooding the shelves. Well, I bought it anyway. Heh. I was not in the mood for any of the myriad pumpkin ales that stared hauntingly at me. Boo! I am up at our lake house and spent the afternoon working on screen coverings for our new porch. It is cold and rainy here today. Add that to my general ineptness in such endeavors and the result is not many screen coverings were built and hung today. Cold, wet, tired, and frustrated - hmmmm, good time for a winter brew. Back inside I grabbed a Harpoon Winter Warmer while I put some soup on the stove and Amy Winehouse on the boom box. (Too bad she is such a train wreck - Back in Black is a fine album). Post soup I have a sandwich queued up: black forest rye, deli sliced roast beef, horseradish (we are out of mustard here - what is up with that!), cheddar cheese and some russet kettle cooked potato chips. Oh, right, the beer. I am firm believer that your state of mind, and the food you are eating if you are having a food friendly drink affects how you enjoy the drink. As described above this is a friendly environment for a winter ale. This is a mildly full bodied ale. More creamy than hoppy, it has almost zero bitter aftertaste. The finish is long, and mostly carried by the spices. It is fairly well balanced, though the spices are forward as you might expect from the style. Surprisingly, it went well with the Mediterranean style sausage and pasta soup. It is a little weak for the serious sandwich I have going on here, but not completely overwhelmed. Perhaps the black forest rye cries out for heavy Bavarian dark, my bad in the beer and food selection. You can find a number of other brands with their spiced winter brews out there, I think they are all featuring the cinnamon and nutmeg like this Harpoon brew. If you compare them, let us know how that worked out. In summary, I can recommend it. It is moderate enough to have on its own, but can stand up to some food (skip the black forest rye though). Not a brew to rave about, but solid enough to have and not be disappointed. Cheers.