Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day Drinking!

Beer: Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Brewery: Samuel Adams (Boston Brewing Company, Boston MA)
Type: Bock
ABV: 5.5%

I went to bed last night safe with the knowledge that a winter storm was blasting its way across southern Ontario, which theoretically meant that most places - including the university where I work - would happily eschew opening the next day, rather than force their employees to make large, pointless treks across newly snow-covered tundra.  I was right, or at least I would have been if my university wasn't the only university in western Ontario to not close for the the day.  Goddamnit...

Like many of my comrades, I was right pissed, not because I had to venture across ice planet Hoth to get to work (it actually wasn't that bad out - the media folk greatly exaggerated this storm's capacity), but because we were the only ones who had to do it.   I felt like my parents were forcing me to stay inside on a warm May evening and practice violin while all the other kids got to play road hockey and beat each other up.  Except unlike the kid playing the violin, there was no tangible benefit for us in the long run - just cold, snowy aggravation.  At least it was kinda pretty outside...

After coming home from work and shoveling the driveway for about an hour, I really, really felt like drinking winter away for good.  So I did so - inside my warm living room, however, sporting a pair of khaki cargo shorts out of spite.   I usually make a habit of picking up anything Sam Adams puts out whenever it gets to Ontario - I'm a big fan of their Boston lager, and I've been fairly happy with most things I've tried from them thus far.  Thus I picked up a sixer of their Winter Lager at the LCBO while getting ready for my birthday shindig on the weekend, and this was my third brew into the pack.  If I can swing it, I like to sample a brew a few times before giving it an official review, as it gives me a chance to experience the brew at different times and with a clearer mind.  Greater sampling base, that sort of thing.  A sound policy with any beer.

Poured into a nonic glass.  This was a nice amber-copper brew, which left behind an inch of off white head that settled into a ring.  A few flecks of lacing here and there.  Looks like your basic English pale ale or winter warmer.

The nose is nice, but incredibly mild. Malt, caramel, cherry, nutmeg, a few other spices here and there.  Not as aggressively spiced as Great Lakes' Winter Ale, but subtlety is an under-appreciated virtue.
Tastes malty, rich, a decent spice profile, with smoke, caramel, clove/nutmeg and dark caramel.  Finishes spicy with a good blast of pepper.  Drinkable, not something I'd want on a regular basis, but certainly good for an evening hiding away from winter.

Nothing terribly exciting, but pretty good for a craft brewery with as big a presence as Sam Adams. Something I'm sure would go well with many different folks at the holidays / to ward off the chill. I've had better winter lagers to be sure, but this one weren't bad.  (Grade: B)

Truth be told, I'm starting to get a bit tired of all these winter brews - not that there's anything wrong with most of them, it's just that the whole winter drinking season is starting to get old.  Chock that up to the February blahs, I suppose - at least last year we had the Olympics to get ourselves through the second lamest month of the year.   I took the photo above while on my patio, and I have to say I'm really missing sitting outside and drinking in the sunshine.  Might have to bust out some wheat beers and summer-style brews in the next few days to keep my enthusiasm rolling.

Or better yet, I might have to make a Margarita if I could only find my shaker of salt...      

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