Total Score: 86.0
The fifth day of Christmas brings a beer all the way from the oldest brewery in Yorkshire, Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery. Founded in 1758, tradition runs deep at Samuel Smith’s, which is one of the few independent breweries left in England. Their ales are still brewed using water pulled from the original well, the yeast strain used dates back to about 1900, Shire horses are still used to deliver beer around the town of Tadcaster five days a week, and the beer continues to be brewed in slate “stone Yorkshire squares”, which are purported to give the beer a fuller body. Samuel Smith’s operates over 300 pubs throughout England at which only Samuel Smith’s products are sold.
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale is a limited edition seasonal brew that is available only in the winter months. Like most of Samuel Smith’s products, Winter Welcome Ale is certified vegan. The label is collectible in the sense that the picture in the middle is different every year…sadly my collection will have start next year since I ripped this one right down the middle trying to peel it off. At 6% this is a nice beer to sip slowly with dinner, and Samuel Smith’s suggests its “luxurious malt character” will go nicely with turkey, roast goose, ham or roast beef.
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale comes in a skinny 12 oz bottle with gold foil hugging the neck, a chaotic and cluttered label, and what appears to be a bottled-on date of June 30, 2011 (30/06/11). It pours a crystal clear dark copper with a burnt orange shine to it. Majestic fluffy ivory-colored head that lingers impressively. Mild aromas of toasted malts are pleasant, but a mustiness reminiscent of body odor causes me to scrunch my nose. Another whiff confirms that yes, there is definitely a hint of BO in there. Believe it or not I still went ahead and put it in my mouth, and mercifully it was better than the smell. Much better in fact. Sweet malts and gently bitter fruity hops balance nicely to produce a rather enjoyable sip. Dominant flavor is that of a piece of toast. Finishes with a sweet hoppy fruitiness and a bitter twang that lasts for quite a bit. Mouth is medium-full with very light carbonation. Goes down smoothly. Another beer that is not your typical winter warmer by any means, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
One I got past the BO smell I was pretty impressed with this one. Would pair quite well with your traditional Christmas fare – things like roasted meats, potatoes, stuffing, and roasted veggies. Might just have to pick up a few more for Christmas dinner.
Look: 10/10 Smell: 7/10 Taste: 9/10 All-Around: 8.5/10