I admit that when it comes to winter beer, I’m not often the first to reach for a winter seasonal. I usually just skip right to imperial stouts and settle in. But I do like subtle spiciness in my beer, so I’ve had the occasional spiced winter beer now and then.According to Redhook, the Winterhook recipe changes slightly every year “because nobody likes receiving the same gift twice.” That’s kind of a fun philosophy, though if you fell in love with the beer a few years ago, this probably isn’t going to be what you remembered.
This year’s “gift” from Redhook pours a beautiful red-hewn brown, like a brunette with red highlights or a beautiful red stain for wooden furniture, and is complemented by an off-white head that left a nice pattern of lace as I drank it. The aroma is of a caramel malt with a little bit of hoppiness there, too. It has a very familiar smell, and it makes me feel like I’ve already had one.
The taste is very light, with a bit of hops on the back end. The carbonation tickles my lips a little, which is nice for a beer of this type. The hops are there, but not overly bitter. They used Zeus and Centennial, and I’ll admit not to being too familiar with Zeus hops. Overall, the roasted malts are just roasted enough to add a layer of interesting flavor, and they play well with what is some kind of peppery and hoppy undertone.
It is 6% ABV, so between the alcohol and the spiciness, it should keep me nice and warm, regardless of the weather. It is a robust companion to complement the sometimes turbulent back and forth of the changing seasons in New England. A good one to keep warm with, or just to look outside and shake your head at the insanity of it all.