While venturing into the liquor store, looking for hours, I found that they had put up a new make your own 6-pack shelf. The shelf had a wide assortment of beer, and I was able to find a couple holiday seasonals that I had yet to try. The first of these is Boulevard’s Nut Cracker Ale. Their website describes it as follows:
STYLE: Winter Warmer
AVAILABILITY: November through December; bottles and draught
INGREDIENTS: Pale, Aromatic, Special B & Munich malts, malted wheat. Magnum, Cascade & fresh Chinook hops
STARTING GRAVITY: 16.0 degrees Plato
ALCOHOL: 4.8% by weight, 5.9% by volume
BITTERNESS UNITS: 31 IBUs
AVERAGE EBC COLOR: 65
Nutcracker Ale is Boulevard’s holiday gift for real beer lovers. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the “spiciness” of freshly harvested Chinook hops.
SENSORY DESCRIPTION: Many foods don’t stand up to this strong beer, so rich strong-flavored foods work best. Nutcracker Ale is also a great digestif. Flavor hooks: caramel, spice
PAIRINGS: Hearty red meat dishes and wild game, strong cheese, dark chocolate, caramel desserts
Here is my take on their winter warmer:
A- deep amber red, slightly cloudy but I can’t see any particulate– much clearer than I expected from an unfiltered beer. I definitely did not try to decant this beer, either.
S- roasted malt in the front, caramel scent lingering beneath, bitter hops aroma which is slightly floral.
T- fiery burnt flavor from the roasted malts, fairly bitter and quite dry, reminiscent of an english style ale. Seems like it is spiced, but subtly. What is this spice? Nutmeg maybe?
M- very dry, with a smooth carbonation.
D- I could drink a good number of these on a cold night like tonight. The burnt character would probably turn me off otherwise. Similar to Summit’s Winter Ale, but with different spices.