Back East Winterfest
1 Growler, $9.00, 5% ABV
Purchased at the brewery, Bloomfied
Just as I finished up with my backlog of Back East beers to review, they released their winter seasonal called Winterfest. And since Back East is on my way home from work (if I go that way), I figured I could be one of the first to drink it.
On my way there, I began musing about all the fests and wintery things we have going on this month – several of which we hope to go to. Not to take away from this delicious Winterfest, but the city of Hartford puts on a pretty cool Winterfest of their own.
There, you can ice skate on the square rink in Bushnell Park and go on the Carousel of course and the city plans all sorts of wintery festy things through December.
Head north up to East Windsor to check out the Trolley Museum’s Winterfest. There, you can get on an enclosed or exposed old trolley and ride through their “tunnel of lights,” which actually sounds pretty cool.
I had a few samples at the brewery and was pleased to see a healthy crowd there – and that many were buying growlers to go instead of just standing around have a few free samples. I sampled the Winterfest and didn’t think too much of it initially.
Neither did the first reviewer at Rate Beer: “On draft at the brewery, plain amber with very light spices, very easy drinker, I hate bashing local breweries but this is lane (sic) and boring. Too safe.”
I sort of agreed at the brewery but my duty and made the purchase.
Having bought my growler (“These things take up so much space in the fridge!” says my wife) and after having a nice chat with Tony of Back East, I headed home.
I cracked open the growler and poured myself and Hoang a pint and had a sip. Hm. Not your typical winter at all – and from my point of view, that’s a good thing. If you’ve read any of my seasonal reviews, you know I’m not big on spicing up the beer. While the Rate Beer reviewer was right – in the context of having a few ounces at the brewery, he’s totally wrong on the long game of this beer.
Back East went a different route with this ale and dumped a bunch of local honey into it as well as some cinnamon. The introduced flavors are subtle, but as you drink through your pint, the honey sort of lingers in the back of your throat and warms it as the very slightly spiced beer gets drunk.
The warmer it gets (but not too warm) the better it tastes as the flavors really open up.
Back East says:
Back East Winterfest is a deep chestnut-colored ale brewed with a touch of cinnamon and local honey. Its rich flavor and subtle spices make it a perfect choice for all of the seasons’ festivities.
Now, if you’ve had Dogfish Head’s Chateau Jiahu and hated it like I did because the honey and other stuff in there overwhelmed you like they dissolved 100 Sucrets in each batch, don’t be afraid of this beer.
You can hardly taste the honey, but you know it’s there.
Speaking of secret honey, and since this is my last Back East review until they release their Imperial IPA next spring, I might as well tell the 8 people who read this that I’ve watched the movie Honey two times all the way through.
And so, hey, if Jessica Alba wants to hang out and drink some Back East Winterfest with me, just keep that Honey honey a secret between us. At least she won’t take up any room in the fridge.
Overall Rating: B
Rating vs. Similar style: A