There aren't many things in Brooklyn that are genuine (obvious link to Look At This Fucking Hipster here), but the Brooklyn Brewery is one of them. From the heart of Williamsburg comes an unpretentious brewery that got to where it is through hard work and offering something of substance. Weird, right?
Brooklyn Winter Ale - much like the Bell's Christmas Ale - eschews the trappings of the Christmas/Winter beer varietal. No additional spices, fruits, etc.: this beer is a traditional Scottish ale, envisioned to be a tasty companion to a long winter. I guess I just don't understand this trend of creating something and pretending it's something else. Then again, I'm not from Brooklyn.
The Winter Ale is a deep reddish amber, clear but with heavy visible carbonation. The light beige head is very thin and dissipates quickly.
It doesn't do much for the nose: some caramel malt aroma with a slight undertone of pine from the Willamette hops.
The taste follows the aroma with caramel malts being the key player. Very strong and complex malt character, just like a Scottish should. There is one flavor note in this that cuts through the malts: iron. Like blood. Gross.
It's got a smooth body and the initial effervescence dies down after a sits a minute (as evidenced by the rapid dissipation of the head) which makes it quite drinkable. The aftertaste, thankfully, is slight, made up mostly of sugary malt sweetness.
It's really too bad that the one metallic note ruins this whole beer because I really enjoyed most everything else about it. But, like Brooklyn itself, it only takes one bad element to tarnish the entire beer's reputation.
Beer Advocate readers: B
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