I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $3.09 ($0.26 per ounce).
Appearance: Hazy orange/copper hue. Translucent with carbonation
visible. Pours to a fairly large, white, frothy head which laces and
retains with excellence.
Smell: Mostly West Coast-style citrusy hops with a touch of earthiness.
Taste: Something I’ve noticed recently is that West Coast breweries tend
to think of strong brown and pale ales as being winter seasonals. I
suppose that makes sense for the Southern Californian breweries, but
Elysian is from Seattle - surely they get snow and cold temperatures
there, right? In any case, their "Bifrost Winter Ale" is essentially
just an extra strong pale ale. To its credit, it’s a tasty and highly
drinkable beer and I like it.
It should be noted that there’s definitely a difference between a hefty
pale ale and an IPA proper. This beer is a good example of that. There’s
a lot of sweet, pale malt character here. Notes of honey, caramel and
butterscotch are all quite prominent. Though it’s not especially rich
and far from cloying. The citrusy hops are equally strong, imparting a
nice taste of orange citrus and just a hint of dry, earthy spiciness
(that’d be from the Magnum hops). It’s well-balanced so that neither
component outshines the other. A nice bitter bite at the crux of the
swig and on the finish. They probably could add some actual spices to
this brew to make it more wintry or Christmas-y (rye, for example), but as it stands it’s a
nice pale ale for the winter.
Drinkability: Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale is dangerously drinkable.
Though it weighs in at 7.5% ABV, it has the body of something much
lighter and is surprisingly smooth. There’s no alcohol presence at all.
The mouthfeel is on the thicker, more tepid spectrum as this is
definitely not a crisp pale ale. It does leave a slightly dry, pasty
aftertaste, but it’s easily tolerated.