Friday, August 12, 2016

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2013 (10/10)

In late January, I found myself at The Winking Lizard on Bethel with a good friend.  I wasn't finding too much on the draft menu that interested me, so I took a chance on a bottle of J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale from 2013.  I'd never had the beer before, so it was something of a crap shoot, but I knew at least that as an English beer it was unlikely to be over-hopped like most American ales tend to be.

The beer pours a cloudy brown with thin white head that leaves behind rings of white lacing that gradually reincorporate into the beer.

The aroma is one of spice and dark fruit.

The flavor, in a word, was outstanding.  It combined all the best elements of sweet malt, dark cherry, dark fruit, and a warming alcohol presence with mild bitterness.  It was a complex but extremely pleasing array of flavors.  Despite the price of the bottle, I ended up ordering a second.  It was that good.

Lest you should think I'm exaggerating here, consider that Beer Advocate rates JW Lees Harvest Ale a 100/100 or world-class beer.  Rate Beer gives it a 99/100 overall.

I've only seen this on the shelf at Kenny Road Market and in the Cellarville room at The Winking Lizard on Bethel Road.  You might find success elsewhere in town, but you might want to call first. Shelf price at Kenny Road Market when I last bought a bottle was $8.99.

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