Ugh. Another week that I published our Silvio Saturday post and forgot to add an intro. A few hours later I remember AFTER people have already commented and think this is my own review. Sorry Silvio! In any event, better late than never, right? As usual, Silvio brings us Saturday reviews of a couple great beers…
I realized about a week ago that this week’s review would fall directly on Christmas Day. This could go one of two ways – either everyone will be too busy opening presents to read this, or all the LIBA readers will be so tired of their family that they’ll be glued to the Internet looking for any new content to keep them distracted from Uncle Walter’s latest arthritis story.
Either way, I’m going to stay true to the season and review two winter ales – Bell’s Winter White Ale and the Sierra Nevada Celebration 2010 Fresh Hop Ale. I was inspired to try the Bell’s by a comment on last week’s review, and the Sierra’s label jumped off the shelf at me. Both look like perfect Christmas beers.
Bell’s Winter White pours a cloudy light yellow, and smells quite spicy. Definitely resembles a classic hefeweizen. I get cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg from the aroma. The taste is very light and crisp, and definitely pulls the smell through to the flavor. This is a dynamic beer, with tons of classic hefe spices on the first taste, but it gets really interesting through the middle with moderate hoppy flavors that transition into a long bitter end note.
I’ve gotten into letting my reviewing beers warm after the first taste, and was rewarded once again with a better taste than when first opened. I let this one sit about 20 minutes, and the spices got much deeper and noticeable on the back of my tongue. This is a great brew, super flavorful and with a very tolerable 5.0% ABV. I could definitely see myself putting down several of these in one sitting.
The Sierra Nevada Celebration’s label was what caught my eye – it’s billed as a hoppy holiday ale. Sounds intriguing and I knew I needed to give it a spin. The pour is very cloudy and a dark copper color. Much more of a foam head on this one than on the Bell’s, too. The aroma was decent, a bit indistinct but decently hoppy.
Flavor-wise, the Celebration comes across as a perfect blend of hoppy and nutty flavors. The hops are quite piney to start, but the middle is a nice mellow roasted chestnut. The aftertaste is pretty bitter, and is probably the only thing I didn’t like about this beer. The ABV is surprisingly high at 6.8%, and I don’t think I’d have more than a few of these at any one time.
As you read this, I’ll (hopefully) be knee deep in wrapping paper, presents, and food – and probably one or two beers into my holiday! Seasons greeting to all the LIBA faithful, and I hope Santa brings everyone what they asked for.