Monday, December 2, 2013

The Brew Kettle Winter Warmer (9/10)

The Brew Kettle hails from Strongsville, Ohio.  They produce a number of very good beers, such as Kitka Coconut Chocolate Stout, and this Winter Warmer.  It’s a traditional winter warmer ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, and lemon peel, along with “a sleigh load of honey”.

The beer pours a beautiful clear mahogany with a finger-thick beige head that dissipates with in seconds.  (The image at left is a beer poured literally 2-3 seconds before the photo was taken.)

The aroma is definitely sweet.  You get the honey they talk about, and some cinnamon. Dark fruit aromas abound as well.

The flavor is where this beer shines (and let’s face it, it’s where every beer really should shine).  It starts sweet and malty.  A touch of cinnamon and the alcohol warmth appear next.  Ginger and citrus peel takes a back seat in this one.  You’ll know the ginger’s there, but it’s not overwhelming like it is in many holiday ales.

The staff at Kenny Road Market recommended it, and I thank them for that.  This may well be the perfect winter warmer.  It’s sweet, but not syrupy.  It’s hearty, malty, and definitely warming.  It’s not overly spiced, but the spice is “just right”.  Very nicely done, Brew Kettle!

The Beer Advocate crowd gives The Brew Kettle Winter Warmer an 84 or “good” rating with about 70 reviewers weighing in.  Rate Beer is a bit tougher on it, giving it only a 68 overall.  I’m going to disagree with both of them, giving TBK’s Winter Warmer a solid 9/10.

You can find The Brew Kettle’s Winter Warmer at a number of Columbus area retailers.  This particular bottle, and the six-pack I have chilling now, came from Kenny Road Market.  I’ve also seen Brew Kettle products in the past at Whole Foods, The Andersons General Store, and other local retailers.  I doubt you’ll have trouble finding it if it’s in season.

Flavor Profile:

Sweet, Malty, Dry, or Bitter:  Sweet
Spice Level:  Low
Hops Level: Very Low
Dominant Flavors:  Sweet malt and citrus peel
ABV: 8.2%
IBU:  25
My Rating: 9/10

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