They are naming winter storms now. Really? I mean, we named them when I was a kid, but it usually started with a string of words not fit to print here. Apart from that it was the “snow of ‘67” or the “blizzard of ’78,” and the “global-warming balmy winter of 2012?” So imagine my surprise to learn the first big snow storm of the year is called “Draco,” like some B-movie villain.
Already the wind is coming up, carrying with it a hint of cold and snow. It feels timely just a week away from Christmas. For a while I was beginning to fear we’d go another holiday season without the white stuff. Given all that has happened lately, the snow offers a settling respite. It feels right for a good strong winter brew. And though I am still exploring some of the holiday seasonal, it just seemed time for something to hunker down with and sit out the storm.
Winter Land, the spiced Ale from Hinterland brewers and founders, Bill and Michelle Tressler poured black from the sturdy pint bottle. Lifting the glass to my nose I breathed in the warming bitterness of hops. Swirling it heavily in the glass I was reminded of a good stout. Even that modest and frothy brown head gave that impression.
I reckon folks in Green bay, where Winter Land is brewed, know a thing or two about winters and what it takes to get through one. Since I’m up that way a couple of times a year, I can attest they know a bit about beer. Next to dodging amorous deer on highways, beer might be in the top five Wisconsin sports. I imagine that naming a beer Winter Land, and brewing special for the season carries a certain risk if it ain’t done right, and Hinterland did it right.
I let the first taste sit on the tongue a moment. The coffee and dark chocolate bitterness of the hops quietly rounded and softened as the roasted malts came through. At the back of the throat the hint of juniper berries built to a crescendo to finish that first taste nicely
It’s all about the taste, and not over-thinking things. I try not to over-think my beer. It’s nice to play with it a bit, and to explore the effort a good craft brewer puts into their beer. There are layers and subtleties and artistry a good brewer brings to their final product. I think it only fair the serious beer enthusiast pay a bit of homage to that effort.
It will be snowing in a couple of hours. They’re talking about blizzard conditions, high winds, plunging temperatures and a half a foot of snow by tomorrow night. Seeing as I don’t have to be anywhere in particular, I’ll crack open another Winter Land and enjoy winter storm “Draco.” I’m not going to over think any of this. I wish I could say the same for the Weather Channel: Next storm, Winter storm-Terminator.
Tune in every Sunday 9-0am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian Murrayand I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Have a beer. Get involved.
With thanks to the good people at Louis Glunz Beer Inc, a family owned business for 125 years in Chicago. Happy Holidays! Visit them @ http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/SeasonalBeers.aspx?hd=1
And for great gift ideas for the beer enthusiast in your life, check out Beerables, http://www.beerables.net/
For more on HinterLand’s Winter Land seasonal, and their other great beers visit: http://www.hinterlandbeer.com/Winterland.html