Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Boulder Never Summer Ale (2014 re-review)


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1248) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 23, 2014
This is another re-review beer for me. I originally drank this nearly five years ago and it was apparently a winter warmer at the time. This year’s edition seems to be a to-spec Amber Ale (BJCP style 10B), and works well as such even if there’s no spiciness. It does have a malt and hop combination that create for a palette vaguely similar to that of winter warmer, and that’s good enough for me.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.65 ($0.22 per ounce).

Appearance: Clear but dark copper/mahogany hue. Pours to a small, off-white, foamy head which and retains fairly well.

Smell: Strong sensation of specialty malt (with caramel notes) as well as citrusy hops.

Taste: Like any good amber ale, Boulder’s Never Summer Ale is not just malt-forward, but specialty malt-forward. Right away there’s a strong taste of caramel and toffee. They’re sweet to be sure, but not sickly sweet. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong hop presence to balance the maltiness. A combination of familiar West Coast-style citrusy hops along with subtle, spicy, almost spruce-like hop flavor and bitterness can be found throughout the palette (though there’s a significant bitterness around the middle of the swig). I also notice a mild coffee presence here as well, maybe even some toast with marmalade as well. Overall, it’s a really interesting and enjoyable palette. I’m not sure what’s so wintery or “Christmasy” about it, though; this would work well as a year-round offering.

Drinkability: Sweet beers tend to be a little clingy – literally. In the case of Boulder Never Summer Ale, it’s a bit of an anomaly. The mouthfeel is crisp, but relatively thick with a smooth texture. There’s a lingering bitterness initially, but it fades and leaves an aftertaste akin to that of iced coffee. At 6.5% ABV it definitely has the full-bodied taste and intensity you expect and want in a beer of this genre. 
Grade: 8/10
NOTE: Here's my video review from February, 2010 (I didn't write a review of it at the time):