Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Beers — Anderson Valley vs. Bridgeport

Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Winter Solstice

ABV 6.9%

Orangey brown.
Earthy sweet, molasses, canned pumpkin.
Sweet and malty with some nutmeg and allspice notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Sweet graham crackers and pumpkin pie.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Bridgeport Brewing Co.
Nightcap Winter Ale
(33% Ale Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels and 67% Ale)
ABV 7.2%

Dark brown.
Aroma: Tart, molasses, dust.
Flavor: Simple, flat, dry and woody.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Slight tannic bitterness and toasted wood chips.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good -

Blow by Blow
Now that nature has turned out the lights, it's time to hunker down indoors and sip on big, warming, winter beers. So hunker down we did, battling a bottle from Anderson Valley Brewing in California against one from Bridgeport Brewing in Oregon.

It was a clean fight as both beers were well-made, but it wasn't the blockbuster we were hoping for. The Bridgeport was, honestly, a bit disappointing. It claims to have 33% ale aged in bourbon barrels which got our hopes up, but neither of us could detect any traces of bourbon in the beer. The oak, however, came through in a big way. Unfortunately, it was too much oak for our liking and it kind of countered the sweetness of the beer.

The Anderson Valley is a solid winter beer. It's got good sweetness, good mouthfeel and a nice dose of Christmas spices that are prevalent, but not overwhelming. Drink some as you put up the Christmas lights, but for Pete's sake be careful. We don't want anyone falling off the roof.

P.S. If you really want to get your fix of Winter Beers, make sure you check out the Winter Beer Fest at Hale's Ales in Seattle this weekend.

Winner by unanimous decision: Anderson Valley.

1 comment: