Wednesday Food: Gift of the Magi, Winter Welcome
This week your Weblog host and his domestic partner, The Girlfriend, join me and Vanessa via world wide web for a beer tasting. We limited options to breweries distributed to both regions. There were a few contenders but we decided on the easily found Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale, and the more precious Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi. Disclaimer: we were obviously drinking from different bottles which were handled differently, but tasting conclusions were comparable so I’d say the beers received equal treatment.
BEER ONE– Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale
The Girlfriend: It makes a respectable ‘glug’ sound when poured.
Vanessa: Damn Erika, you poured that terribly. You’re really letting yourself go. Smells like stewed prunes.
TG: Malty finish, very light tasting for an ale, at least compared to the ales I drink, which are pretty heavy. It’s definitely more malty than it looks. I think it’d be good for a party. It’s neutral and sweet like an ale, nothing too scary.
Adam: Very light. Nothing about this stands out to me. It just tastes like “beer.” It looks very carbonated when you pour, but it tastes a little flat.
Erika: It’s a good “training wheels” beer. It is malty, but sprightly, like a woodland fairy.
TG: Yeah, because it’s sweet. It’s like your cool older cousin gets this for you when you’re still drinking Beast and you think it’s the best thing that ever happened to you.
E: Smell a little metallic to you?
TG: It does, but I don’t taste it. It basically has no aftertaste other than malt.
V: Very dry on the finish. It tastes of more alcohol than 6% merits.
TG: Agreed. It tastes more like a 9%. At least you can have a lot of them and not make a fool of yourself at the holiday party.
E: Someone explore the label.
A: The label says it “will appeal to a broad range of drinkers.” That seems accurate.
E: What about the fermentation in “STONE YORKSHIRE SQUARES.” Like a town square? The fuck is a stone square?
A: I wish they’d included an illustration.
E: The label suggests we contemplate its complexities before a fire? A roaring fire to distract me would improve my opinion the beer.
A: I wish we could move on to a beer that’s actually analyzable.
: Okay, next one!
A: The Gift of the Magi is much headier.
V: Solid lingering head. Smells like a wet sponge. Eek, I guess that could be my glass.
TG: It smells sour, but [sipping] it’s really sweet at the end — like licorice? Bittersweet, definitely licorice.
V: Should have been fermented in oak not metal. I get some raisin nose, but mostly all I can think of is Vitamin C chewables.
A: Definitely bitter throughout, very boozy.
E: Like a woman scorned?
A: But at least there’s something, unlike the other beer. At least it’s an ethos!
E: Makes for delightful burps.
TG: This smells and tastes too much like alcohol. If I had this on a second night of drinking, I might throw up.
E: Does the beer make you think of throwing up because of flavor? Or just because it’s lots of alcohol?
TG: I think it’s the licorice flavor at the end that tastes like ouzo or Jaegermeister.
V: Oh yeah! Definitely Jager. Suddenly wish I didn’t hate Jager so fiercely. The color is nice and it’s cloudy. Actually the colors of both beers are comparable but one is opaque, the other clear. It’s very bready, malt bread with a thick viscous mouthfeel. Not especially complex. Raisins. Bread. End of story.
A: I couldn’t drink this all night. I’m a little intimidated by the thought of finishing the bottle. I think my gums are numb.
E: Come now, are you a man or a muppet? Were you living the High Life before this tasting?
A: I did have a High Life this afternoon.
E: You’re so predictable.
TG: I think the easy drinkability of the Samuel Smith makes it more accessible at Christmas time, when you tend to drink more. The Gift of the Magi would be good in a small pour or goblet.
A: Perhaps Christmas ales are the fruitcake of beers.
E: Oh god I hope not.
V: I hate to hear that but it’s kind of true. Though every now and then you get a good cake without jellied bits and rancid nuts. Same with Christmas beer.
TG: That said, I’d be more comfortable giving a friend one of these beers than a fruitcake.
: Moral of the story: gifting fruitcake is like telling someone they’d look better wearing a Santa suit. Gifting holiday beer of any variety is like telling someone they’ve never looked better.
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