Southern Tier Old Man Winter & Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout
by Erik Wollschlager and Chris Groves
Outside of Buffalo, if one mentions Southern Tier Brewing Company, the first thing out of anyone’s mouth is “PUMKING!” and rightfully so—the creamy pumpkin ale has almost single handedly driven an entire beer style to a crazed national fandom. Unfortunately for STBC, many of their other, more fantastic beers often get overlooked, as is the case with the rarely mentioned Old Man Winter. Brewed in the traditional old ale style, Old Man Winter is equal parts rich malt, hop bitterness, and spiced fruit sweetness. The 7.5% ABV gets lost in the deep flavors, which makes it great for yuletide sipping—as the fire warms the body, Old Man Winter warms the soul. Old ales lend themselves well to aging, and though I haven’t tried an aged bottle, I can see how the flavors might enhance over time. As the season deepens as much as the coming snowfall, ovens begin to fill with roasted meats and vegetables, and stewpots simmer once again. Old Man Winter is a great beer to be had with either of these seasonal specialties—the spice and hop cuts the carmelized vegetables and the malts envelope the deep flavors of roasted meats. Old Man Winter is available on tap throughout the city, as well as in grocery stores and bottle shops throughout the city.
Style: AMERICAN stout
ABV: 6.2% I.B.U.: 53
I’m starting a tradition. I’m going to have an outdoor fire every Thanksgiving NO MATTER WHAT. It will be an open invite after the children have gone to bed and we’ll share in the warm glow of friendship and smoke in our eyes. This is as much a small fantasy as it was real life just last week. It happened to be exceptionally warm that evening though a bit gusty. You’d think a beer choice for around a fire would be easy; not so! When a friend brought the Sierra Nevada “Snowpack” over, a surprise was in store for their Coffee Stout. Perfect. Fire. Beer. The enjoyment you get from a great cup of coffee in the morning exists inside this beer. Deep roast enveloped in bittersweet chocolate and just a touch of dark cherry-like fruitiness are packed into this ruddy brown liquid. The wind blows and a bit of sweet smoke gets in my nose, which the beer doesn’t mind! Each sip is a different beer as it warms, bringing more chocolate to the front, leaving the bitterness behind. This is a complete beer for me, hitting all good points from aroma right through to finish. I have a love love relationship with Sierra Nevada. Every beer they make falls not only into the “solid” category, but is an exemplary representation of style. I think you’ll agree.
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