Welcome back my friends! The holidays have come to an end, bringing the chaos and unpredictability of Christmas and Festivus – and any other winter holiday – to an end. And, as a new year is upon us, what better time to return to the tried and true. I am, of course, referring to beer reviews! And today’s beer is Bell’s Winter White Ale. Bell’s Brewery is one of the best craft breweries out there, so I’m excited that this beer has the honor of starting off 2014. Let’s get to it, shall we?
With the new year, these reviews will change slightly. Instead of describing the aroma and taste from the bottle, I’ll just be focusing on the poured features. My main reason behind this is simply because beer in a glass tastes better than beer from a bottle (real beer, that is). Pouring the beer releases all of those trapped aromas and flavors, allowing each brew to live up to its full potential. Having said that, the poured aromas of this beer are unique to the winter beer line-up. Bright bursts of lemon juice and apples flow over a layer of mild and slightly earthy straw to create that wit bier bouquet. Mellow bread malts support from underneath and an overall freshness descends atop the nose, slightly floral with just a hint of spice-drop spicing. The aroma ends with a gentle wave of yeasty spice that makes the mouth water. Visually, it pours a slightly cloudy gold – mildly bubbly, with a thin white head that bubbles away fairly quickly.
On the tongue, a wonderful orchestra of mellow malts, fruits and spices come together to make sweet, sweet winter music throughout the mouth. The malts and yeast show up first, slightly bready with a touch of Belgian spicing. Up next, tangy lemon juice mingles with fresh apple peels and a pinch of grass clippings to create a layer of slightly sweet tartness. This tartness flows over some straw and dried leaves, creating a feeling of seasonal warmth that anchors the beer within the winter spirit, despite its brightness. Throughout each drink, faint notes of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon provide an ultra mellow spice quality that works wonderfully with the apple notes. This spicing is nothing like a seasonal Belgian ale, but it’s enough to provide even more complexity and flavor.
In the end, Bell’s Winter White Ale is a lovely contribution to the winter beer scene. Instead of rich and heavy malts or potent spices, it uses subtle hints of wit bier flavors to create a delicious and comfortable ale that’ll chase away all of your winter blues. Its price is on par with other seasonal craft beers, but its flavor is definitely worth picking up a case or two.
I recommend this beer from late Autumn to early spring. It’s light and mellow enough with its flavors to stay tasty and refreshing no matter the weather, while bringing enough flavorful oomph to work wonders during the cold, winter months. Bell’s Winter White Ale earns a delightful A.
Lasting Strength: 9/10
Overall: 9.4/10 A
Winter Warming Bonus: 7/10