The temperature is over 100 here in NC and I’ve got three bottles of this winter warmer left. The beer laughs at the threat of heat. It might actually be better a little warm.
I’ve previously shared my adoration for Ithaca Beer, one of my favorites from back home in upstate New York. Their apricot wheat is a summertime gem, but a few months back I got my hands on their winter seasonal, Cold Front, just as it was going out of stock. It’s got a 84 on Beer Advocate.
The beer is categorized as a Belgian-amber, which may sound like an odd pairing but is incredibly accurate in how you might expect the beer to turn out. Cold Front mixes the pairing of Belgian candi sweetness with the refreshing aspects of an amber to pull off a hell of a one-two punch.
At about 7 percent ABV, this is a good winter warmer, but you’d never really know it. The alcohol isn’t pronounced in the flavor or smell. The grain bill includes Munich malt and British roasted barley, which says amber, but uses Belgian yeast to give it a wonderful banana ester smell. Eventually, that mixes in with the sweet candi sugar and then earthy fruit notes on the nose, like figs or dates or something that I never actually eat but works great in this fashion.
The taste is where it really shines, which includes the candi sugar and the fresh taste of what I thought of was like wort – a brewing term for unfermented liquid that becomes the beer (after the yeast eat the sugars and poop out the alcohol). All told, it’s just smooth as hell in taste and as it goes down. As far as bottled beers go, it tasted like it was off the tap.
Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.