Sunday, December 23, 2007

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale is another one of the beers my brother in-law brought up from North Carolina when he visited. Highland's St. Therese's Pale Ale is one of my favorite American Pale Ales, and I was looking forward to trying the brewery's Winter beer.

Cold Mountain Winter Ale comes in a 1 liter flip-top bottle. The bottle opens with an audible "pop" releasing a wisp of carbonated air. The pour is a dark reddish-amber with a very thick, pillowy beige head. As the head slowly fades plenty of lacing is left on the glass. The aroma of cinnamon is immediately noticeable. As the beer warms, nutmeg and caramel notes appear. The taste matches the aroma preview with cinnamon being the strongest spice noted. There are some nutmeg, caramel and vanilla flavors too. This beer really needs to be at room temperature to loosen the flavors. The initial cold pour had us wondering about the presence of spices. I didn't notice much in the way of hops. Overall, the spices were subdued. I presume the brewer is going for a wassail-type beer here, but this left me wanting just a bit more in the way of stronger spices and more kick.

As a Winter beer, Cold Mountain Ale seemed very similar to so many Fall pumpkin beers. The ABV isn't noted but I think that is on the low side of many Winter beers. Not a bad beer, but certainly not as outstanding as I had hoped.

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