As winter’s black coldness further soaks into our souls, we seek recourse. Some may just layer clothing. Some turn up the thermostat. For drinkers like me, we find warmth in drink. Some nights, a dram of Laphroaig’s smokey goodness will lift your soul, as it did mine on New Year’s Eve.
Tonight, as the Arctic currents dip down from Canada once more, I decided to try Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale. Winter Warmers are a long-standing tradition from England. Typically, they’re a bigger, more malty and alcoholic beer giving you a little more substance and flavor, and with that higher alcohol content, dilated blood vessels and a great feeling of warmth. Samuel Smith describes their Winter Welcome Ale as having a :luxurious malt character, which will appeal to a broad range of drinkers… with nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire.” Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is a benchmark of what the style should be, and so it’s with much curiosity that I choose this.
Open fire aside, I’m ready to tear into this bottle. I pour it into my Samuel Smith Pint Glass, and it’s a caramelly brown with a great head that slowly dissolves into a light lacing.
Caramelly roasted malts with esters, and hints of a late addition of the Fuggles and Golding hops also written about on the back of the bottle.
Malts. Malty as hell, but in a way different from a German lager.Pale malts mostly, with enough biscuit and crystal malts to offer some complexity. The hops are balanced perfectly. At only 6.0% alcohol, it’s a little on the light side. But with the maltiness at hand, it offers a rich mouthfeel.
Overall, I imagine my winter beers to be a bit bigger like Troeg Brewery’s Mad Elf. However, for the drinker who wants a winter beer with a bit more sessionality (the ability to be consumed without turning into a sloppy drunk) this is a great beer.