"I kept sipping waiting for something to break the balance... and then I finished my pint."
name: Old Jubilation Ale
% alc: 8.3
type: English Old Ale
vendor: Whole Foods, Seattle
price: $9.99 (6pk)
Toasty malt, smooth chocolate, and hops are present and all balanced together in a perfect winter ale. This is the kind of ale and leaves you relaxed by a warm flickering hearth, no matter where you might actually be. I kept sipping waiting for something to break the balance, some flavor to follow its ego and overstep its bounds; Waiting for the alcohol to remind me it was there as many winter beers unfortunately do... And then I finished the pint.
This holiday I began sampling ales as soon as they hit the shelves so that I might glean some insight for crafting my own winter ale as a Christmas gift to my family and friends. I've recently begun home-brewing and this might explain the massive gap since my last post. Might, but not really. Just having hobby ADD I think. I may post about my experiences with brewing later, it was pretty interesting. There's nothing to bring you down off of your blog-writer high-horse like actually making the thing you're judging.
Meanwhile... Yes, tasting holiday ales, this Avery old ale was just remarkably right. There are holiday ales of fruit and spice, there are holiday ales of syrupy darkness, and there are overly hopped special IPAs. I would classify this as the malty, dark, smooth kind but with enough hop and nuttiness to make the occasion. Grab some off the shelves if there's any left or keep it in mind for next year when the winter beer amalgam hits the shelves, in, when is that, say, July?
review (/10): 9.5
recommended setting: Sitting in a snowy cabin would sure be nice. Near to a window but warm from a fire and within nose-shot of a piney tree. However as I mentioned earlier, all that puff isn't really necessary since the beer has a way of transporting you there through taste. So sip it wherever the holidays take you. Wherever you might end up, with whoever you are sharing it with and bring an extra bottle to share, for 'tis the season!