Monday, December 28, 2009

Harpoon Winter Warmer, Harpoon Brewery, South Boston, MA

"First Shamrock Shake of the season, I better not spill this f#$%&r!" - DJ Big Boy, Key West, Florida

Harpoon Winter Warmer has dominated my life a bit lately, me the KSA and Pale Ale Guy were talking just last week about Winter Warmer and how the serving temperature changes the taste of the beer. Fortuitously, the following day I get an email from Harpoon saying that Harpoon Head Brewer Todd Charbonneau was participating in an online chat. So I asked Todd what the ideal serving temperature of Winter Warmer was and here is his response: "I think somewhere around 48F is perfect. If you take your WW out of the fridge about 15-20 min. before pouring it into a glass, the flavor rounds out and the aromas are a bit more concentrated." Good to know right? Another thing that I'd like to point out about the Winter Warmer is this, it's better on draught, this might be a personal opinion, but if you compare bottles to draught, in this case draught wins.

Now, it probably confounds people how it took me this long to review Winter Warmer, after all how did I miss doing it last season? The answer? I don't know. I knew I was going to cover it this winter though, and as I saw that I was fast approaching my 100th review, I knew I had my 100th review choice. (This just in, yes this is my 100th review.) Every time I see Harpoon Winter Warmer hit the draughts for the first time I am reminded of the DJ Big Boy quote above because that is exactly how I feel. The coppery ale is wonderfully dark, it is spiced perfectly with nutmeg and cinnamon that makes you feel warm inside, and it pours a good amount of head. I am not one for fruit beers, so it amazes that the sweet malt, the cinnamon and the nutmeg appeal to me so much. It is the perfect beer for a cold winter's night. I used to love when Harpoon had it's Winter Harpoon Fest and was so devastated when they cancelled the annual event after 2003, I held my own in 2004 with the Winter Warmer on draught of course. The 5.9% ABV isn't too concerning if you are only having one, but to paraphrase my friend Leo "I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass (word omission) on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently." And yes, it's hard for me to just have one Winter Warmer, because it is that good.

The rating is a no brainer, 5.0, Hall of Famer. And as the days get longer, time is running out on this beer, so you should head to the nearest pub that serves the Winter Warmer on tap and order one.

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