Great Lakes Brewery is one of many breweries that market seasonal beers. This practice started with the release of Green Tea Ale last spring, followed by the rather enjoyable Orange Peel Ale last summer, and then there was the horrific Pumpkin Ale that was marketed for Halloween. For Christmas, Great Lakes Brewery has released another seasonal novelty called Winter Ale. Typical of Great Lakes Brewery packaging for it's seasonal products, the beer comes in a 750 ml bottle with the labeling painted directly on the glass, and has an abv of 6.2%.
The Great Lakes website has this to say about the product:
Inspired by the long, cold and seemingly endless Canadian winter, our 6.2% alcohol Winter Ale is a true winter warmer. Handcrafted with specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavour. Available only for a limited time.
Brian picked this one up at the local LCBO and invited me over to try it. After reading the description of what was used to make this brew, I was slightly dismayed with the prospect of reviewing it. I have had several beers (notably from Belgium) that used various spices in their manufacture, and all with the same miserable results. However, having survived both An Evening of Bumwine and such hateful products such as Corporal's Bitter Brown Ale and La Fin Du Monde, I decided that I would not be so easily defeated by a little cinnamon and ginger.
We popped the cap and pured out three samples. The beer is brown with little head, and had no strange smells nor sea monkeys. We tipped our samples back and drank. The beer was very spicy with a strong cinnamon flavour, with something Brian was instantly suspicious about. Michelle remarked it was "definately odd" but it wasn't entirely unpleasant. I personally thought it was quite festive, however it wasn't anything you would want to pound back all night. In fact, we all thought that a 750 of this would likely be too much for one person. While the beer was definitely "brimming with flavour", the unique flavour seemed to overpower the palate to the point where one glass seemed more than enough. As we finished the samples, Brian stated that this was like the "no-name Dr. Pepper of beers."
Great Lakes Winter Ale - Final Score:
Brian - 6/10
Myself - 6/10
On a final note, this will be the last post for 2009. However, we will be a tasting on New Year's Eve and I will do my best to fight off the hangover for an update on New Year's Day.
From all of us here at Liquor Pig, we wish you a safe and drunken New Years! See you in 2010!!!