Sunday, February 16, 2014

Anacortes Noel Winter Ale

Anacortes Brewery, Anacortes, Washington – Noel Winter Ale

Stars: 2.5
Date sampled: Feb 16, 2014
Format: Pint on tap
Where I found it: Fiddler’s Inn, Wedgwood, Seattle

As soon as the server at Fiddler’s set this one down on the table, both Megan and I were struck by this beer – it is really ugly. Sort of a milky reddish brown, I can’t say as this beer is exactly visually tantalizing.

I did get a bit more curious after taking in the nose of this beer, however. Strongly sweet aromas of coffee and toffee dominate – in fact, I found the aromas to be reminiscent of Hostess mini crumb doughnuts (which, I actually found to be a promising thing…but I’ve got a soft spot for those things).

But the taste and mouthfeel left much to be desired. For a winter ale, Noel is disappointingly light-bodied. It feels as if it didn’t want to fully commit to being a winter ale. It comes off as watered down and unsure of itself. There is a pleasant sweetness at the front of this ale, but it quickly fades and it is overpowered by a strong bitter linger that seems inappropriate in context.

I don’t usually say this kind of thing since I am a huge fan of all things bitter, but I think this beer would benefit from a significant dialing back of the IBUs (which actually aren’t all that high to begin with). The most pleasant thing about this beer is its subtly sweet and nutty flavor – unfortunately the subtlety isn’t allowed to shine.

There’s nothing offensive or challenging about this beer, but not much of note either. Go ahead and pass this one by.


Stats: 7.0% ABV / OG: 1.075 / IBU: 45