Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale

Reviewed by on February 5, 2014 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery

  • Origin: Portland, OR, USA

  • Rated On: December 19, 2012

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 7.3%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and cellar temperature

  • Style: American Amber Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

The Hopworks brewery’s annual winter offering – they don’t add anything beyond a classic west coast upping of the hops and malt – besides, it doesn’t snow in Portland, does it? Cheers to the Dr. Suess-esque cartoon beast of the woods adorning this rather kitschy label.

This 22oz bottle pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves some sparse rainforest tree-top lace around the glass as it gently seeps away. It smells prominently of pine resins and pithy citrus rinds up front, with a solid bready caramel malt, followed up by a further tepid herbal hoppiness. The taste is fairly bitter right off the bat – pine, earth, and grassy herbs, whose initial edge softens greatly as the slightly late-arriving bready, somewhat sour caramel malt barges in anew. Right along with it, I also get a wee bit of metallic alcohol warming.  The carbonation is on the low side, yet a tad frothy at the same rate, the body medium weight, and generally smooth, but for a slight hop bitterness twinge. It finishes just on the perceptibly off-dry side – the moderately intrusive hops not giving up the game just yet, and the (apparently six kinds of!) malt doing a decent job of general clean-up.

A winter ale, sure, I suppose – though I would proffer that this is more of a hopped-up amber ale, the only spice being ground-up hops. So, given its origins, it could also be simply called a summer ale, or an autumn ale, for all the difference it would make. It still tastes pretty good, however, but don’t expect anything that actually complements all that Christmas baking on which you’ve just gorged, eh?

Brady White

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