Dark Brew Complements This Season’s Chilly Weather
Shades of brown with hints of red and green. These are the colors that come to mind when I think of Thanksgiving. Perhaps my varying degrees of synesthesia become a bit more manifest in autumn, because I can almost taste and smell this time of year as I write this column, due a few days before the holiday.
As I pontificate on my autumn memories, I can smell wool, cinnamon and an almost earthy whiff of cool air blowing across the river and through my olfactory senses. I can taste a whole plethora of savor, but, for the sake of our theme, let’s say I can taste, well, delicious dark beer.
I’m not going to rub in the fact that I got my hands on some delicious “maple syrup” from Vermont a few days ago – specifically some “maple syrup” from the Alchemist Brewery in Stowe called Heady Topper, Focal Banger and Beelzebub. So, I’ll skip to a seasonal go-to for me that is readily attainable down South.
Southern Tier Harvest Ale
No, this beer will not knock your socks literally off your feet like Rum Barrel Aged Pumking from the same brewery does. This extra-special bitter boasts just about half the alcohol content than does the aforementioned beer. So, calm down. It’ll be just fine.
I chose Harvest Ale for this month’s column because it hints at chilly weather – much like our fall. The light amber appearance and white head would lead you to think you were having quite the bitter beer, and you are.
However, there exists an earthy and piney tinge throughout that gives complexity to this brew. A purist might taste it and think it silly to call this an extra-special bitter, and I hope to have a day someday when that’s what I’ve got to be concerned over.
As for the taste, bitter hops hardly give way to citrus elements, but there’s a hint or two of sweetness from the malts that come up now and then – although as you sip you wonder how any remote echo of sweetness can come from a brew that laces like that on the inside of a pint glass. It’s there, however. Be sure to look for it.