13 January 2008

Perm's Beer Pick for January 2008 -- Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome

So in my Christmas stocking this past year (welcome to the Ardrey-Graves household!) was a 550 mL bottle of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale. I finally broke it out tonight, and it was absolutely fantastic, a clear choice for a Perm's Pick.

I've been drinking a lot of dark beer and high-gravity farmhouse/Belgian/abbey beer of late, so it was quite nice and refreshing to return to a classic pale English style, and remind myself why I love English beer so much. Here's my tasting-notes rundown:

Bottle of the 07/08 vintage, poured into an American pint glass.

Appearance: Beautiful copper color, lots of bubbles rising to the head -- which is a nice foamy off-white, and sticks around. 5/5

Nose: I can sense it even before I get close. Nice hop aroma (Goldings? Fuggles?), also hay, malt, and rural English rain. 4/5

Taste: slightly spritzy, and spice right off the bat. What is that? mild cinnamon? allspice? This opens up into a wider smorgasbord -- artisan hearth bread, toasted walnuts. As it warms, some roasted caramel malts enter in. Very earthy, very English, wonderful. 4.5/5

Palate: very nice and pleasant, if perhaps fading a bit too quickly. Which does, however, serve to bring the glass back to my lips that much sooner. 3.8/5

Overall: Excellent. Another winner from Sam Smith's. 4.2/5

I had it along with a venison hutspot (crock-potted venison steak, with mashed potatoes-and-carrots-and-onion) with homemade soda bread (with dried spent brewing grains!), and it was spot-on. I think I'll be getting this one each winter for sure.

is a link to a page (from Merchant du Vin) with good information on the brewery and its town of Tadcaster, Yorkshire.

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