Howe Sound Brewing has some great beers in cool bottles that I love drinking. This Winter Ale is a departure from the other Howe Sound beers that I have tried, in that they have added flavours too it. If you don’t know this already, I generally hate beers with added flavours.
This is a good looking beer with a good clarity and nice head. The body is very good, and it has a nice creamy feeling in the mouth when you drink it. With its rich flavours of vanilla and spice, it is more like a liqueur than a beer, really. Anyone expecting to taste beer when they drink this are not going to get what they expected.
This is a nice novelty for the holidays, but the reality is that most people are not going to like this beer at all. The flavours are just too intense for it to be enjoyable. When I gave a sample to every member of my family. Half of the women liked it, and none of the men liked it. Interesting.
I think the fatal blow for me is the spicy clove flavour and medicine-like aftertaste. Perhaps there are times when a sip of this hits the spot…if I had just come in from the cold, an apres ski in a cabin next to a wood fire, perhaps then I wouldn’t mind, but I doubt I would pick it off of a list of other choices.
My best recommendation would be to not think of it as a beer, but treat it like a liqueur. Chill it very cold and put it in a small stemmed glass, remark on the flavours and the aroma, and discuss.
Um, but here is the thing, I just wanted a beer.
But hey, I am no expert. Perhaps in the future I will learn to appreciate such intensely flavourful brews, but in the meantime I have to pass.