No-Li Winter Warmer Ale

Reviewed by on January 2, 2015 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: No-Li Brewhouse

  • Origin: Spokane, WA, US

  • Rated On: January 2, 2015

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 7.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

No-Li is a brewhouse from Spokane, in eastern Washington state, and the ingredients for their beers come from something called the Inland Empire, which is really just the inland part of the Pacific northwest – so at any rate, their stuff is pretty local.  And since winter seems to have returned with a vengeance right after the holiday season has just concluded, what better to address that than a nice Winter Warmer?

This 22oz bottle pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with two skinny fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and mildly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some chunky and webbed iceberg profile lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, soft dark orchard fruit, a low-key orange and white grapefruit citrus bitterness, faint earthy spices, and a tame, lurking estery alcohol warmth. The taste is somewhat sugary toffee, softly grainy caramel malt, concentrated drupe fruit, a bit of seasonal spice – maybe some cinnamon, perhaps some nutmeg – fading weedy, piney, and citrusy hops, and ascending cold steely booze. The carbonation is adequate for the job at hand, what with its lifting frothiness, the body a sturdy middleweight, and more or less smooth, the malt taking on all comers, and even engendering a mote of creaminess as it warms. It finishes well off-dry, toffee this, caramel that, dark fruitiness over there, you get the picture, because the hops and alcohol kinda don’t.

I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on this one, as one of the tenets of the style is a husky maltiness. Maybe it’s my expectation of a PAC-NW brewer to hop the hell out of everything, but I know that to just be a (well-earned) stereotype. So, in the end, a tasty, engaging, and uber alles, warming (if edging on hot) winter brew – kinda just what we all need right now.

Brady White

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