Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweetwater Festive Ale

It's Christmas Week so for the next 5 days we'll be reviewing only Christmas/holiday/festive/winter themed beers on Chad's Beer Reviews. We start out with a beer sent to me from Mark down in Georgia - the Sweetwater Festive Ale. I've heard great things about this brewery and I did get to sample a few of their beers this summer, so I was really eager to see what they could do with a Christmas beer. Thanks again to Mark for the beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (621) - Albany, USA - DEC 20, 2010
Poured a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

APPEARANCE: Dark cherry/maroon/blood red color bordering on black. One-finger, light brown, frothy head. Decent retention but not much lacing.

AROMA: While I do get a dark fruit basket of sorts, the overall scent is very mild. A candy chocolate scent as well. No spices, though. Surprisingly not as intense as it should be.

TASTE: The old "symphony at a low volume" metaphor works here. Quite a complex palate with dark fruits such as cherry, plum, fig and dark chocolate in the finish. However, ALL flavors are seemingly diluted. The bottle clearly mentions spices but I get none. Still, the beer is pretty tasty and satisfying. A little more energy to the palate would make this a great beer.

MOUTHFEEL: soft, wet, tepid but not flat. A little thinner and less intense than it should be. Doesn’t turn me off, doesn’t impress either.

DRINKABILITY: Mild palate and calm mouthfeel make for a surprisingly smooth winter warmer. This beer should have more energy, but its laid-back approach makes it very drinkable. the 8.5% ABV is well hidden with no alcohol taste or warmth.

OVERALL: a good winter warmer that satisfies but doesn’t knock my socks off. A nice nightcap on a cold winter’s night. I’d buy a single or bomber of it, but not a six-pack.

Grade: 7/10

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