By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor
Thanksgiving has now officially passed, so bring on Christmas and the holiday beers associated with it.
I have to admit I broke my own rule this year and started enjoying one particular holiday brew before Thanksgiving for two reasons.
The first is that it just tastes so darn good.
The second is that it reminds me of the first holiday season with my fianc e, Eileen.
It was Eileen who actually introduced me to Harpoon Brewing Company's Winter Warmer. Upon entering her house one night, she came almost skipping over to me, bottle in hand and said, "Try this. It tastes like Christmas."
Now, I have very mixed feelings about Harpoon, the regional craft brewer with locations in both Windsor, Vt., and Boston. Harpoon has produced some really spot-on, good beers, yet it has also missed the mark, in my opinion, on several as well.
But I took it on faith that the Winter Warmer falls into the first category. It was a leap of faith that truly expresses my trust in Eileen and I was rewarded for it.
With deep brown coloring and a fine, light head, it is a very appealing beer to look at.
Bringing it to your nose, you can pick up hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and even a little bit of clove, which are reminiscent of Christmas cookies, apple pie and other Christmas baking.
The nutmeg, et al, are also present while drinking it, while at the back end, there is a certain amount of sweetness and caramel tastes that make it very satisfying to the palate.
What's interesting about this beer is the sweetness and the spices actually give a warming sensation, even when served cold. However, I recommend drinking this at a slightly warmer temperature, as it seems to bring out the taste of the spices.
With a medium body, this beer is very drinkable, though some may find the spice to be a bit much after a couple of these and some people may not like the fact that the spice and sweetness make it "not taste like a real beer."
It's an affordable beer, both as a six pack -- usually somewhere between $8 and $9, before taxes, of course and on tap.
It is also available in 12 packs and cases.
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