After the somewhat ho-hum spiced winter ale from Highland Brewery, we decided to open a bottle of Blue & Gray Spiced Winter Ale. As noted earlier, we enjoyed this one immensely last year and went back to refill our growlers several times. Neither Colleen nor I got the same "wow" out of it this year, but we still enjoyed it. I'm beginning to think I might be losing my taste for Winter-spiced beers; I didn't find many pumpkin ales I enjoyed this Fall either.
Blue & Gray Spiced Winter Ale pours a murky iced tea color. The very thin head fades rapidly. Aroma is strong in cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste has typical mulled cider flavors -- a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel. A bit of citrus hops comes through as well. This is an easy drinking spiced Winter ale. It doesn't say on the Blue & Gray web site, but my guess is that this is a spiced up version of the brewery's very popular Fred Red Ale.
As an experiment we tried heating some of the Spiced Winter Ale in a double boiler to see if it worked as a hot mulled cider-type drink. In Ultimate Beer, Michael Jackson describes Liefmans Glühkriek spiced ale that is meant to be served warmed. The result of the trial wasn't anything special. The warming actually seemed to diminish the spice flavors. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.