|Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries|
Upon my first whiff of Starr Hill's Warm Up Winter Ale, I'm transported to a cold winter evening, a blanket over my lap and a book in hand, dog snoozing by my side and a fire in the fireplace.
But I shouldn't get ahead of myself.
Though the beer pours with only a moderate head, the mouthfeel – I discover later – offers plenty of smooth bubbly. In the glass, the beer is a rich mahogany color with ruby-red undertones, nicely clear. The nose immediately speaks of winter spices, most strongly of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Upon the first sip, my palate notes the spices right away – again the cinnamon and nutmeg predominate – followed by some toasty malts. The progression continues nicely, as a touch of sweet and vanilla take a bow at the end of each sip.
The Starr Hill beer is made with 2-row, crystal and Munich malts and golden oats, Willamette hops, and special additions of cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg and vanilla. The cocoa seems to be the lightest of the flavors (perhaps because I'm accustomed to beers that celebrate chocolate like a tacky lights tour celebrates the holidays).
This beer appears on the brewery's Heavy Rotation list, a series that rotates four times a year, available in six-packs and on draft. Starr Hill Brewery currently distributes in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington D.C. (use the beer finder for more specifics). Or you can stop by the brewery at 5391 Three Notched Road in Crozet, Virginia.
For its 6.1% ABV, Starr Hill's Warm Up Winter Ale packs in plenty of flavor. Recommended pairings are malt-glazed roast turkey, gouda cheese and snickerdoodle cookies. But I'm happy just to let the ale warm up by insides all by itself. No need for complications when simplicity will work.
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