On the 21st of March, after a day of eating chocolates and other Hershey candies, I was slumped in a chair in a room at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania sipping a Winter Warmer from the Lancaster Brewing Company. What else would a person drink on the first day of spring? Especially when the forecast for that evening was for sub-freezing temperatures and snow. But it was warm inside and a Winter Warmer seems an appropriate way to welcome spring. I thought my last Winter Warmer of the season would be the Blue Point Winter Warmer. Two weeks ago I stopped into Painters' for lunch with a couple of friends and saw that a keg of Blue Point Winter Warmer was still on. Always a welcome sight to see the Blue Point Winter Warmer on tap.
The Lancaster Brewing Company Winter Warmer is different than the Blue Point; it's big mix of sweet and bitter capped with a thick dollop of mocha colored foam. A pleasant caramel and a touch of molasses come through adding dimension to the maltiness. The beer is dark with a reddish tint when held to the light. According to the brewer's web site this Winter Warmer is an Olde Ale with a blend of British and American hops. At first I thought this bottle might not be a perfect specimen of Lancaster Brewing Company's Winter Warmer, because I detected slight oxidation and a little lactic sourness. However, according to the style guidelines for Old Ale these aspects are not defects, but part of the beer's flavor profile. So here's an example where taste and expectation clash---and a reminder to drink the beer in the glass.