Tasting Notes: Olde Burnside – Time-Tested Local Beer With a Winter Kick

Olde Burnside Brewing Company, often times erroneously referred to as “Ten Penny Brewery,” is the local beer company that is most commonly known for their rock-solid Ten Penny and Dirty Penny ales. What many may not know, however, is that they routinely brew a full line of limited-release beer that compliments whatever season it happens to be. As we are smack in the middle of winter (albeit a mild one), I had the pleasure of trying two of their winter beers on tap at the always excellent Eli Cannon’s Tap House in Middletown, CT.

The first I had was the Stone of Destiny. This “Imperial Black & Tan” pours out a barely translucent, deep chocolate brown and smells slightly of malts and fresh coffee. At first the beer has a very bright, fresh malting note with hints of toffee and coffee. This moves quickly to a deeper, slightly-sweet malty note, which then segues to more of a high-spicy hoppiness which only lasts a minute. After this the taste profile smooths out to a spiced-toffee tone with a malty vanilla tinge that lingers out with a mild stab of alcohol. This beer is solidly medium-bodied and has an almost plum-like taste that pushes the thick flavor profile along and ends with a potent alcohol note at the end. This beer is very hearty (and at 12% why wouldn’t it be?), expertly balanced, spicy, and settles with a wonderful sour fruitiness on the back end. All in all a great dessert or any-time drinking beer that will warm you up and feeling jolly no matter what the weather is like outside!

The next beer I had was Father Christmas Highland Ale. Although the Christmas season is passed, this is a beer that would be well-worth hunting down to try. This beer pours out an opaque, medium brown with a fizzy head on top. The nose on this one is filled with bubbly, light spicing. At first this beer sips with a very bright, light note that’s filled with dull-fruit and sweet & rich spicing overtones. From here the beer moves to a heavier spicing note that then shifts to a more bitter note. This segues very fast to a Belgian-style hopping note (filled with dull-fruit and semi-sweet tones) that settles to a long, muddled semi-bitter fruit taste which finally settles easy on the palate. This medium-bodied beer is absolutely filed with spicing that is complimented with that muddled fruit/dull-hop tone. This is a great warm up beer that features mixed flavor notes (fruit, bitters, and soft alcohol tones) that will slowly warm you without bowling you over with lots of thick alcohol tones. As said above it may be hard finding this still, but at 9% it’s a great candidate to find, buy, and hang onto for next Christmas.

Next week I’ll be talking about craft news from Narragansett brewery (yes, Gansett DOES make real craft beer). Be sure to follow me on on BloggerTwitter, and Facebook to stay tuned for more winter beer notes and beer ramblings coming your way!