Grizzly Paw Hibernation Winter Ale

Reviewed by on January 5, 2015 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

  • Origin: Canmore, AB, CA

  • Rated On: January 5, 2015

  • Best Before: Bottled November 4, 2014

  • ABV: 5.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: OKAY

The Review

Canmore, Alberta’s Grizzly Paw Brewing have recently begun to ship in the bomber format, and this is indeed an appropriately-named beer for we in the throes of very sub-zero temperatures in this New Year of ours. I’m kind of curious whether this is just last year’s Winter Cranberry Ale, sans the fruit, though the label imagery does inspire in me the desire to plan a vacay in the mountains, even if I verily cannot, sigh.

This 650ml bottle pours a clear, dark red brick amber colour, with one finger of weakly foamy, and generally bubbly tan head, which leaves a bit of spooky deer antler lace around the glass as it quickly dissolves.

It smells of grainy caramel malt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg (so, gingerbread, really), a sort of metallic flintiness, and tame earthy, leafy, and weedy hops. The taste is bready caramel malt, a subtle biscuity toffee sweetness, reduced, and certainly now muddled seasonal spices – maybe some ginger, maybe some all-spice, maybe some clumsy clove – a mildly sour dark fruitiness, a touch of meaty yeast, and plain earthy, weedy hops. The bubbles are pretty average in their mixed fizzy and frothy frolicking, the body just on the lee side of medium weight, and more or less smooth, a mild clamminess present from the start, but growing commensurate with the ambient temperature. It finishes well off-dry, the now yeasty caramel malt hangin’ tough, among the detritus of the spices that briefly once were.

Overall, not an overly engaging winter ale, the unfinished-seeming yeasty character tanning my palate’s hide, as it were. Anyways, the whole disjointed nature of this offering suggests more time needed at the proverbial drawing board, and perhaps a deeper appreciation of the subtleties of judicious spice application. Sorry, guys, but tough love is where we’re at right now.

Brady White

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