The Specs: Howe Sound Brewing Co.’s Father John’s Winter Ale
7 per cent ABV, 1L, seasonal
There came a moment as I was scribbling notes about this beer, when I realized I’d forgotten to snap a photo.
Grabbing my half-empty solo cup and bottle, I attempted to set up the two in a way that would allow for our the beer section’s sort of shot.
No dice. I’d drunk to deep of the festive brew. And while there was enough ale left in the bottle to fill up the cup to appropriate levels… well.
If I pour it, I have to drink it, I thought, and snapped the pic as was.
All Howe Sounds brews are, due to their 1L packaging, a whole lot of beer.
But Father John’s Winter Ale would be a whole lot of brew even if served in a shot glass.
If gingerbread cake batter and beer had a torrid affair, I imagine their offspring would have a similar weight and density. This is a beer that feels thick on the tongue and heavy in the stomach. A cup of it has a richness that might sustain you through several months of winter hibernation.
The flavour profile — ginger and nutmeg, brown sugar, honey and malt — doesn’t exactly lighten the load. It’s quite sweet and while there’s lots of ginger here it doesn’t add brightness. I felt like the ale could have used something else to break up the taste. Maybe a hint of citrus, or a bit of vanilla, as you see in other winter beers.
Instead, it’s much of the same all the way through.
Whole lot of the same.
Add in the higher ABV, and I found a glass of this (OK, half a solo cup) to be as much as I could take.
I followed it up with a different beer that, while not great, was just slightly lighter and slightly more varied and breathed a sigh of relief.