Winter officially comes to an end tomorrow and for those of us in Brisbane, it feels like it has hardly been here. I can think of only a handful of mornings where the temperature was in the single digits but, as ever, the lengthening days mean humidity, more time to exercise, visits to the beach and summer drinking in the sun are just around the corner.
Before I get too ahead of myself, there’s Bridge Road’s Posse Winter Ale. The Posse is Bridge Road’s excellent delivery vehicle. For $65, every two or three months (plus delivery), Bridge Road will courier you a case of their beer. This delivery – my first – included a dozen Winter Ales, a handful of Harvest Ales, a sixer of their standard range and a couple of odds and ends. This puts Bridge Road streaks ahead of almost all other craft brewers. As the marketplace becomes more crowded, convenience and price will become more paramount and with their Posse, Bridge Road are well ahead of the curve, a fact I touched on last time.
Enough of the business twaddle, the beer is a dark Belgian wit:
Winter Ale Posse Winter Ale is a beer that has been brewed for our beer club, The Posse. This winter we have brewed a dark Belgian wheat beer using traditional wit beer ingredients; Orange peel and coriander. A light weight dark beer perfect for the start of winter.
The Winter Ale is a beer of contrast. The appearance and the taste are a touch confusing. If you read Pete Brown’s excellent blog, you’ll have noticed a post on the role of your other senses in how you determine flavour. Or, for a lighter take, check #3 on this Cracked.com list of ways your brain deceives your senses.
The appearance then is of a hearty, full and rich beer. The Winter Ale is black as night, has minimal head – like an espresso – with neglible retention and evokes images of roaring fires, snow outside and …are those sleighbells?
It tastes smoky, has loads of earthy and peaty malts, with traces of Belgian spiciness overlaid. The body is smooth without overly heavy or cloying mouthfeel. This tips the Winter Ale from generic dark beer (in appearance)/generic witbier (in taste) and into a true winter warmer. If you’re unforgiving – like ammo – you might compare elements of the taste to cigarette butts but I don’t get that and I’m only noting it for completeness.
However, to go back to my earlier point, I suspect if you tried this with a blindfold, you might imagine the appearance of the beer is much different, perhaps more like a flat Hoegaarden. It’s a bit late for me to undertake this exercise but if you’ve got some lying around, try it on a craft beer enthusiast friend and report back.
In conclusion, despite the confusion between taste and sight, I really love this beer. It’s got a great complexity to it that has taken ten full beers (not in a row) to nut out. I would argue that this is a great winter beer that could also be quite happily pounded back in summer.
- Genre: Belgo
- Regionality: Beechworth, VIC
- Strength: 5.5%
- Rating: 2.5 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 4 / 5
- Plus: Perfectly designed for winters, even if they aren’t that cold
- Minus: Mindfuckery between flavour and appearance