It has been a hot and steamy day. In late evening, a
humdinger of a thunder storm reared its ugly head, striking the Earth with
incessant brilliant white flashes of lightning punctuated by ear-splitting
peals of thunder. A torrential downpour of rain created mini rivers flowing
through the streets as fast blowing winds carried the rain almost vertically
And as this mid-summer night's maelstrom rages outside my window, I sit here in awe of nature's fury, staring incredulously at a.....snowman? Yes, it's true, because as I type, I'm sipping a glass of Anheuser-Busch's Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale, a seasonal winter brew aged in oak barrels on Madagascar vanilla beans from the same people who bring you Budweiser. And staring at me as I stare at him, right on the label of the bottle, is a chilly looking snowman replete with green ski cap, sun glasses, and of course, a foamy glass of brew.
I think that he, as I, is having a grand old time celebrating Christmas in July. And as everybody knows, a true beer lover should never imbibe all of his holiday seasonal brews in winter, instead salting a few away for the dog days of summer. Just as I did with this one.
Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale pours to a rich chestnut color with a light and short lived head formation and a heady vanilla aroma. The beer has a fair body to it with a touch of caramel at first, but the dominant flavor here is vanilla, lots and lots of vanilla, with some woody oak notes too. The beer finishes fairly balanced, though I'm not getting anything in the way of hops here.
To be fair, I doubt this beer was intended to be socked away until July. My bottle has a "born on" date of November 22, 2006. But oddly enough, I think I like it better now than I did back in December. The vanilla and toasty oak notes seem more pronounced now than they did a year ago.
The one thing I think this beer could benefit from might be a bit more malt and a bit more alcohol to stand up to the vanilla. At 6% alcohol by volume, this is only slightly stronger than a bud. More body and alcohol would certainly add complexity.
All in all, though, this isn't a bad beer for celebrating the holidays-in December or July.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.