3.8AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
They say first impressions are everything, and if that’s true I’d say Blue Point Brewery from Patchouge, Long Island did a good job of making a potential loyal customer out of me. As a fellow New Yorker I’ve been itching to try this brewery for a while, but wasn’t able to until recently when I tried their Winter Ale. It’s described as a “hearty and robust amber ale” – which really caught my attention. While I wouldn’t say it’s quite as great as the description says (then again, what beer is?) it was enough to satisfy me.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
Blue Point Winter Ale pours exactly how it’s supposed to – an amber/reddish, crystal-clear body. It produces a very fluffy, slightly off-white head which lasts throughout the life of the drink and regenerates very easily. Oddly, it did not leave much lacing on the glass.
The aroma was typical for a beer of the style with a nose indicative of hops with a mild floral scent. There’s also a malty sweetness, but it’s also subdued. I was hoping for a more inviting aroma but this’ll do.
Sometimes a beer does not conform to its style which is not necessarily a bad thing. Blue Point Winter Ale does “follow the script” of an amber ale quite well. Up front there’s a significant hop bitterness with a slightly pine flavor which finishes rather sweet. The beer is made with four types of malts including chocolate, although I wouldn’t say this is a candy-like beer at all.
The hops eventually fade away as the malts take over making for a mostly sweet, yet fairly mild beer. It’s just a tad bit watery to give the beer a clean finish. There is also an aftertaste, albeit mild, of baker’s chocolate and perhaps a hint of caramel. I’ve had other amber ales which had the same flavors present but their intensity was double or triple that of Blue Point’s.
Overall, it’s satisfying mostly because I believe this is an intentionally pedestrian beer and if that’s the case it works.
Becoming a hophead is not a title a beer-drinker tends to earn overnight. Hop bitterness is an acquired taste, but if done properly it can be made drinker-friendly which is what Blue Point has seemingly done with their Winter Ale.
With a very soft, yet fairly heavy mouthfeel combined with the mild palate, this is a beer the pedestrian and the beer geek can throw back quickly and easily. At 5.5% ABV it doesn’t overwhelm and has a well-proportioned body for its flavor profile and beer style. I also believe it’s something of an “all-purpose” beer when it comes to food pairings considering its mild, yet satisfying, taste.
I’m not sure what took me this long to try a relatively local brewery, but I (hopefully) picked a good beer to introduce me to the Blue Point Brewing Company. Winter Ale has enough flavor to satisfy the beer geeks while still remaining drinker-friendly to do the same for more Joe and Jane Six Pack.