3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 I’m beginning to notice that winter or Christmas-themed beers are a lot like Oktoberfest beers, but with much more taste. Case in point: Dundee Festive Ale. This is an ale with a varied, spicy complexion but with some reservation so as not to scare away the average drinker.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Festive Ale pours smoothly to a dark copper/maroon crystal clear body. It forms a large off-white, foamy head which dissipates at normal speed but leaves quite a lot of lacing on the glass. The aroma was indicative of spices, but only hinted at them.
The label for this beer describes it as “An ale with spices” – could there possibly be any more of a generic way to describe a beer? At least it’s accurate because Festive Ale does drink like a beer with spices, quite a lot of them, too.
Nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel and other spices are used to create this wintry beer. With Festive Ale the spices are prominent, but mild and subdued. Whereas most “spicy” beers assault your palate, this one is quite subdued. It has a complex flavor, but without making a lot of noise about it. In fact, my only real problem is Festive Ale might be just a little too mild.
As I’ve mentioned, Festive Ale’s taste is mellow, so it should come as no surprise that its finish is as well. This beer goes down nice and smooth despite its spicy complexion and should be no trouble for even the lightest of lightweights.
The catch with heavily-spiced beers is the heavy body that comes with them. I was able to breeze through my first bottle of Festive Ale no problem, but I could certainly feel the effects of the second. At 6.2% ABV it’s no wonder, and I’m got to assume the calories are well over 200 per bottle. Festive Ale might work better as part of a mix pack rather than a stand-alone beer.
Dundee Festive Ale would be a great starter beer for those who want some taste in their seasonal brews, but without being overwhelmed with spiciness. It’s tasty, mellow and smooth, although quite hefty. The connoisseur will like it, but the everyday drinker might just love it.