Today’s review is Nutcracker Ale Winter Warmer by Boulevard Brewing Company (there is actually one called Nut Sack that they use the hops from Nutcracker to dry hop thus creating the name; this one isn’t sold in bottles) is usually one of the first indicators that the Holiday season is upon us. I decided since it’s such a standard it could be pushed back to let a few of the other winter ales be in the light for a bit. Now that I’m a week into the reviews I think it’s time to let this one out of the bag.
A winter warmer (in case you are wondering) is a style that BeerAdvocate describes it has having a big malt presence both in flavor and body. The color can range from a reddish brown to pitch black. There is hop character but little to no hop bitterness. There is usually a warming sensation from the alcohol. The traditional English styles will not have spices in them, but if they do they follow the wassail tradition. The American versions will have a stronger hop bitterness and flavor.
The color of the body is a brown/dark amber hue with a light tan head. The aroma is spicy and resiny. The taste is malty and slightly bitter (this is from the fresh Chinook hops they use). The mouthfeel is smooth, thick (very syrupy even on the pour) and the finish is warming. I highly recommend that you do not drink this straight from the fridge. Let it warm up. The initial taste had me thinking the hops were florally, but as it warmed up they became more piny.
This is a really good beer for sitting around opening gifts (if you’re not drinking Eggnog or spiking your coffee with Baily’s) or just hanging out with friends. If you have a Christmas (or any Holiday) party to go to I say grab a sixer and take it. It’ll get you through the night and at 6% ABV you’ll be lucky to finish the six pack before the end of the party. But either way make sure you have a designated driver with you.