Alaskan Winter Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 6.4%
Find this beer and more at Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown.
Intro: I love seeing the various winter ales start to hit the shelves this time of year, and I’m hoping to get to quite a few winter beer reviews over the next few months. Apparently, brewing with spruce tips has a “rich history in Southeast Alaska”, and Alaskan uses them in this seasonal. If this beer doesn’t do it for you, I’d highly suggest picking up a bottle of their Smoked Porter, which is one of my favorite beers ever.
Description: Pours a clear light copper with huge fluffy off white head. Lightly sweet caramel malt aroma with some floral notes coming through. Taste is a mix of pale toasted and caramel malt and some vanilla.. There is a light sweetness that isn’t cloying at all. It’s smooth and almost a bit creamy, with a light balancing bitterness to finish. Very light flavor of alcohol and some warming comes through. It’s clean and well-made, with no off flavors.
According to their press release, the spruce adds to that floral aroma. The malt profile isn’t as bold as some winter beers, and while the beer is pretty enjoyable I wouldn’t say it sticks out of the pack of winter seasonals too well. That said, it is a perfectly fine beer and it is worth a try if you see it on tap or want to pick up a bottle.
Verdict: Worth Trying
Click here to see a list of select local bottle shops.
Commercial Description/Press Release:
English Olde Ale. Traditionally malty with the warming sensation of alcohol, Olde Ales are brewed in the fall as winter warmers.
Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.
From the seafaring adventurers of the 1700s to the homebrewers of today, adding spruce tips to beer has a rich history in Southeast Alaska.
Alaskan Winter is made from glacier-fed water, Sitka spruce tips and a generous blend of the finest quality European and Pacific Northwest hop varieties and specialty malts. Our water originates in the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice Field and from the more than 90 inches of rainfall we receive each year.
Perfect winter warmer by the fireside or an accompaniment to holiday fare. Serve with roast goose, turkey, ham or lamb. A nice complement to holiday breads, pound cake, or apple pie.
Throughout Southeast Alaska, bald eagles can be spotted landing atop the towering old growth forests of Sitka spruce trees. As many as 3,000 bald eagles congregate among these evergreen trees on the shores of the Chilkat River for the last large run of salmon before winter. Sitka spruce trees carry a significance of their own to local Alaskans. The tender new growth of the spruce tips lends a delicious, yet subtly sweet floral aroma to teas, jelly and now our Alaskan Winter Ale.
In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this review was of a sample bottle received from the brewery.