For the last few years, Portland, ME based brewer Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing company gets on the radio and announces the arrival of Slick Nick, their winter seasonal brew. And at that moment, I am often happy that the beer has come back, but also feel a twinge of sadness about the true end of fall and the inevitable beginning a long winter ahead. However, hearing Kai’s voice assure me that this beer will be around to keep me company during the long winter months is a consoling thought.
Slick Nick is listed on the ratings sites as being an English Strong Ale, but is comparable to most winter warmers. It pours a dark red – coppery in the right light – and has a slight amount of head when poured into a pint glass. The aroma is strongly caramel and there is a tiny bit of maltiness there, too, though it’s hard to pick out. The aroma is not particularly hoppy, and is actually quite mild overall.
The taste of this one is familiar to many Mainers – it has a distinct caramel malt flavor, but without too much complexity or richness. It is very easy to sip, and leaves its bitterness to just pop in to say hello at the very end of each sip. If I have one criticism on its taste is that it is a bit thin feeling – I’d imagine that to combat the abominable winters that a beer drinker would want something just a little heartier and fuller. None the less, this beer is a staple of the winter season for me and its sweet maltiness is a comfort.
As for the name, I always assumed that Slick Nick had something to do with referencing St. Nicholas and his ability to sneak in and out of homes undetected to deliver Christmas presents. However, upon reading the description on the Sebago site, I realize I’m mistaken.
Slick Nick himself is pictured on our the label, casing out the Victoria Mansion in Portland Maine on a blustery night.
Sounds like an infamous cat burglar of some kind. If anyone knows where I can find out more about this infamous character, I’d love to hear about it. Until then, I’m going to open up another one of these and hope for a white Christmas. Cheers!