As Deron said in his most recent post, ’tis the season for Winter Warmer styles. This past weekend I enjoyed my first Great Lakes Christmas Ale at Staples (the bar, not the office supply).
Unlike some Christmas ales I’ve had, this one was not over-spiced. For example, although tasty in its own right, the Anchor Special Ale for 2009 has more pine essence than that of beer. It was enjoyable, and most definitely reminded me of the holiday season, but it’s not one I could drink a ton of.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale, on the other hand, had a very heavy and spice-laiden nose (which I’ll admit, made me skeptical) but its taste was far from overwhelming. It poured a ruby brown, with a head that dissipated extremely quickly, as you can see from my photo (please disregard the mini pilsner glass here – I don’t know what the bartender was thinking).
The ginger and nutmeg that I smelled before sipping was most definitely present in the taste, but again, not overwhelming at all. Also swirling around was honey and a light touch of cinnamon. Although there’s a kick of hops, the brew is moreso malty, as a Winter Warmer should be, giving it a nice balance. Its medium mouthfeel made it easy to drink without feeling too heavy, even at 7.5% ABV. I would definitely enjoy GL’s Christmas Ale again.
[techtags:GREAT LAKES BREWERY, GREAT LAKES CHRISTMAS ALE, CHRISTMAS ALES, WINTER WARMERS, BEER REVIEW]