Harpoon Brewery - Winter Warmer
- ABV: 6.0%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 23
- Serving Temperature: 48-53º F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip or Snifter
- Malts: 2-Row, Dark Caramel, Victory, Chocolate
- Hops: Apollo, Northern Brewer
Harpoon’s seasonal winter ale presents a beautiful reddish mahogany color in the glass, capped by a crop of beige foam. Brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s no surprise to find those spice additions greeting us immediately on the nose, evoking ginger snaps as well as the rustic traditional ales brewed centuries ago which relied not on hops but on herbs and spices to add balance to beer. Lurking below is a rich caramel impression and some brown sugar. Hops contribute some herbal, minty, woody, and pine-like tones which meld with the spice additions to conjure impressions of the winter season. On the palate, look for a complex array of flavors delivering impressions of spice cake, caramel, light toffee, toasted bread crust, roasted nuts, treacle, and dried fruits. A touch of residual sweetness is well balanced by mild to moderate hop bitterness and the hops’ spicy, herbal verve. We often enjoy winter warmers on their own, but food pairings are possible. Naturally, desserts which feature similar spices as the beer should work nicely, but deeply flavored savory dishes like cinnamon pot roast or venison stew with anise and nutmeg are dynamite, too. Cheers!
Harpoon Brewery was founded in 1986, quite early in the US microbrew renaissance. Before starting the brewery, the founding team of Dan Kenary and Rich Doyle traveled throughout Europe in search of various beer and brewery styles upon which they would model their own ("product research" we think they called it). Upon returning, they partnered with George Ligeti and hired brewer Russ Heissner, and by 1987 their first beer was sold as the brewery debuted on the Boston waterfront.
Harpoon has always been focused on positively impacting their local community. This is an important component of the brewery and pub lifestyle that the founders witnessed while experiencing European traditions abroad. As they say on their website, "We learned to appreciate how much local brewers meant to their communities. They were not just manufacturers of a product; they were part of the social fabric. We asked each other, 'Why not do that in New England?'" The result of this initial desire has won them overwhelming approval from the locals and beyond. In fact, in 2000 they purchased a second brewery in Windsor, Vermont, to keep up with demand. In 2014, Harpoon became an employee-owned company with the introduction of an employee stock ownership plan, a major point of pride for the entire organization. Way to go, guys! For more information about the brewery or scheduled tours, call 617-456-2322, or visit their website at www.harpoonbrewery.com.
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