Monday, January 21, 2013

Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer

It’s strange that the Scottish (not "Scotch") style hasn’t really caught fire in the American craft beer scene. If done right, these beer have it all: plenty of malty sweetness balanced with hop bitterness and a hint of smoke. They’re versatile as they work great as stand-alone beverages or accompaniment with a meal. Well, at least that’s how I’d describe Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (796) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 21, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark, murky, cranberry/maroon colored body. Forms a large, off-white, frothy head which laces and retains really well.

Smell: Sweet, dark malts with a hint of dark fruit and a faint trace of smoke.

Taste: I’ll admit I was rather hesitant going into Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer, as I’m not usually a fan of Scottish Ales. But one sip into it I knew this beer wasn’t like most I’ve experienced. There’s a much bigger taste profile here that’s both robust, complex and perfectly balanced. It has that classic taste of bready, slightly fruity maltiness in the English style. There’s pronounced bitterness through the middle - a nice combination of astringency and piney, resiny hop character. The ending is the best part as there’s a strong burst of caramel sweetness followed by semi-sweet chocolate and slight bitterness just before it fades away. There’s a smoky taste riding shotgun the entire time, but it’s nice and subtle and doesn’t distract from the main palate.

This is a really tasty palate, and a versatile one as I could see this beer working well in a variety of situational pairings: with a meal, with cheese, with dessert or as dessert. Take your pick.

Drinkability: Thankfully, Hangar 24 Hullabaloo Winter Beer drinks like a bigger beer than it actually is. You don’t tend to get this much flavor out of 6.5% ABV. It’s big enough that one serving satisfies, but light enough that it doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s smooth and soft all around with an almost creamy-like texture but distinct carbonation to give it some energy. The aftertaste is a little dry, but it’s easily tolerable.
 Grade: 8/10