Lancaster Brewing Company came into existance in 2001, when it purchased the floundering Lancaster Malt Brewing Company. Dedicating themselves to quality brewing under the guidelines set forth by the Reinheitsgebot, Lancaster Brewing brought in Brewmaster Bill Moore who built his brewing experience in such notable breweries as Independence, Stoudt’s, and Sly Fox. The brewery has been putting out top notch beers ever since. So let’s look at their Holiday offereing, Winter Warmer Ale.
THEM: Winter Warm starts with a grain bill of 2-Row Barley, Chocolate, and Caramel malts. The beer is mashed to an original gravity of 19.5 and fermented down to 8.9%ABV. The beer is balance with 30 IBUS from a mixture of Cascade and Goldings hops.
ME: Winter Warmer pours with a dense head, that dissipates quickly into, well sadly nothing. You might think the beer is black, but if you hold it to the light you can tell it’s a very dark (but clear) brown. The nose is light with aromas of molasses, caramel and maybe some raisin. The flavor is more of the same, molasses/brown sugar, caramel, touch of chocolate; with a slight hint of the alcohol in the back . The finish is clean with only a bit of stickiness.
I prefer Winter warmers over the Holiday Spiced Ales that come out this time of year. There’s something about a clean, malty beer with a kick that just seems more appropriate when sitting next to a warming fire. Plus I drank more pumpkin beers this fall than I have in the past so right now August to December seems to have left me with to many visions of Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Clove dancing in my head, and I’m ready to start veering off the spice trail. To that end, Winter Warmer Ale is a pretty descent example of what I’m looking for. Again, not a beer for those who are looking for big, elbow-drop-from-the-top-rope flavors; but it is a solid, accessible, drinkable beer.
Winter Warmer also appeals to my love of beers that reach out to local charities, and this is one I truly love . The beer benefits the Wolf Sanctuary of PA in Lititz, PA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that operates a 20 plus acre sanctuary that is home to over 10 wolf families and packs, several of which consist of more than six wolves. From the website:
In the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, quietly secured on 20 plus acres of natural woodland, you will find the home of the Speedwell Wolves. For over 30 years the Darlington Family has offered refuge to Wolves who have found themselves without a place in the natural world. It has been over a hundred years since the last wild Wolf was known to exist in Pennsylvania.
The sanctuary is open for tours, including what they call a full moon tour on the closest Saturday to the full moon. Again from the the website:
We say create your own experience. What we mean by that is — instead of following a tour guide from pack to pack at a regulated pace that fits within a 45 minute to 60 minute time line, you get to go at your own pace from pack to pack talking to a tour guide who is stationed at each pack. You can listen to what they have to say about the wolves we have here. About the wolves at their station or you can ask questions. You move at your own pace. If you get tired and want to sit, you can go over and sit next to a roaring bond fire and just relax. When was the last time you did that? Just sit and relax, no worries. Plenty of time. The full moon tour starts at 7:30 p.m. and ends at 10:00 p.m. Bring a blanket, a flashlight, a chair, maybe some hot dogs and marshmallows. We hope you will come. Sometimes we just sit around and talk, other times we have entertainment. We always have fun, and its always about the wolves.
I (along with my editor) applaud Lancaster Brewing for their involvement in this awesome cause to help these beautiful animals.
Time for another beer.