Winter SolsticeJanuary 1, 2003 Boonville, CA
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Available: CA, DO, DC, ID, IL, IN, KY, OH, NC, NJ, NV, NM, NY, MA, MD, MI, MN, OR, PA, UT, VA, WA, WI
Founded in 1987, Anderson Valley Brewing Co. is located in a secluded area of California’s Mendocino County. The family -owned brewery releases its winter seasonal ale, brewed with a blend of holiday spice, in October and by the end of January it is “only a fond memory.”
Alcohol by weight: 5.6
The color of this ale is quite beautiful–amber verging on cherry red–and I find a connection in the spicy, light cherry notes in the aroma. The added spice is obviously present, perhaps some nutmeg among others, and a solid hoppiness nicely balances the chocolaty notes in the body. I’m tasting this just before running to catch a plane, but I’d rather a fireplace, a bit of fruitcake and an hour or so for quiet contemplation.
- Stephen Beaumont
Wow! What a wonderful sweet, floral hop aroma, with a dose of sweet toasted malt character. As I write, it is early autumn, but I can easily immerse myself into the spirit of a North American winter solstice with this well-balanced brew. Deep amber with a flavor of sweet toasted caramel and smooth, full flavor of sweet hops. One of the best seasonals I’ve ever had. Terrific drinkability. This is what special beer is all about!
- Charlie Papazian
This is copper colored and offers an inviting spicy aroma of nutmeg balanced by rich orange fruit and tart hops. For a strong beer, the palate is surprisingly light and quenching, dominated by a spicy, fruity note and some delicious and un-cloying malty sweetness. The finish is literally stunning, a twist of barley sugar balanced by bitter hops. I’ll throw some logs on the fire and crack open another bottle.
- Roger Protz
Author of four books, his writing on beer appears in many publications, and on-line at Stephen Beaumont's World of Beer, www.worldofbeer.com. Charles Finkel returns next issue.
Author of the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, founder of the Great American Beer Festival and a Beer Examiner at www.examiner.com, Papazian is a leading voice in beer and brewing.
Roger Protz is the author of Complete Guide to World Beer and 300 Beers to Try Before You Die. He is a respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.