Stanley Park Ice Breaker

Reviewed by on November 21, 2014 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Stanley Park Brewery

  • Origin: Vancouver, BC, CA

  • Rated On: November 20, 2014

  • Best Before: Packaged Sept 14, 2014

  • ABV: 5.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Well, even though pumpkin beers are still conspicuous by their continued presence on store shelves, it’s now winter, both outside, and in our hearts, where the real seasonal beer appreciation matters.  Here, we have Vancouver’s (-ish) Stanley Park Brewery, who contracts their products either from something called ‘Turning Point’ or ‘Hell’s Gate’ brewery out in Delta, BC.  At any rate, this is a “cherry & dark chocolate specialty ale”.

This 330ml bottle pours a surprisingly dark, Black Forest cake brown colour, with three ebullient fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat fizzy beige head, which leaves little beyond a low berm of surface tension lace around the glass as it quickly subsides.

It smells of sugary caramel malt, medium sweet cocoa powder, blackstrap molasses, musty nougat, thick dark fruit (maybe some prunes and cordial cherries), and the faintest twinge of twitchy alcohol. The taste is again big on the melted bittersweet chocolate-covered caramel maltiness, more mixed syrupy dark fruitiness – be it from cane-processing extract, or dried (or perhaps besotted – hah!) orchard offerings, it’s hard to tell, while a weak, equally indistinct overall dryness starts to make time, but it could be the proclaimed hops, or some sniffing booze esters. The carbonation is very soft, innocuous, and barely worth pulling out the ol’ frothometer for, the body a sturdy medium weight, and fairly smooth, nothing really up for any sort of tangle here, as such. It finishes on the sweet side, the chocolate, dark fruit, and general brown sugar essence carrying the day.

Not a bad winter warmer, simple, but sometimes that’s a-ok, especially when the flavour is rounded and endearing, as it is here. This would do well in servicing all those various holiday season chocolate confections you’re sure to stumble into soon – and not overtly be the cause of said unsteadiness.

Brady White

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