The re-introduction of Yuengling beers to Ohio has brought about renewed interest in beer in general. The fact that many special beers have found their way into grocery stores is an affirmation of this. Although there are memorable beers from past holiday seasons that are no longer available, all in all, there has never been a better time for beer. Especially not having to go on a safari-like beer search (although there was a limited charm in that eternal quest) is very welcome indeed. And the pleasant surprise of seeing quality beers at the grocery and convenience stores is a blessing I do not take for granted. As always my only prayer is thank you.
The arrival of Summit Winter Ale fits the bill quite nicely. An English nut brown ale approach with a new world dimension, this has an unmistakable flavor profile, that I am certain I would be able to identify in a blind tasting. The smooth rich malty quality of this recipe I have grown to cherish over the years, where 2-row Pale, Caramel and Carafa II malts are combined with Willamette. Fuggle, and Tettnanger hops. To put it succinctly: this ale is like the return of a long absent friend.
Something I never tried before this year is Full Sail Wassail from the Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Oregon. Seeming to take a note from Belgian Christmas beers, this has a complex flavor profile: orange citrus, a touch of dark chocolate notes combine with a very solid finish. An outstanding spiced ale, where the emphasis is on the finish, which is long and very festive.
Speaking of festive, the return of Dundee Festive Ale, is for myself, a very joyous occasion. A remarkably underrated Holiday beer, the recipe achieves a balanced presentation that makes it a joyous drink. A bah humbug eraser from start to finish.