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Fri, Feb. 23rd, 2007, 06:58 pm
sauergeek: Three beers

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale A classic Pale Ale, medium amber in the glass, moderate head, and a good balance of hops and malt -- both are clearly evident, yet neither overpowers the other. It works well with food or by itself. Shelter would do well as a session beer. 4/5

Winter's Bourbon Ale (Anheuser-Busch) Visually a medium amber (but darker than the Shelter Pale Ale) with little head; by malt and hop content probably somewhere between a Pale Ale and a Brown Ale. This beer claims to have been aged on vanilla beans in bourbon wood. I could not pick out the bourbon flavor; the overwhelming flavors are sweet and vanilla. The aftertaste of this beer is like sucking on vanilla hard candy or eating vanilla-flavored caramel. There is a taste of the malt and hops underneath, but only while drinking the beer; they vanish into the aftertaste after swallowing. The overpowering sweet vanilla flavor is too strong to have this beer with any sort of food other than a dessert, and the dessert would need to tolerate vanilla well. I doubt I could drink more than one of these in a sitting -- but it would be a lot more tolerable if that sitting was indoors, near a fire, while watching it snow outside. 2/5

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale This beer is essentially a Brown Ale -- it is about the same color as the Winter's Bourbon Ale, with a similarly minimal head. The malt is distinctly stronger than the hops -- the hops are barely noticeable. While Cruiser is a winter ale, it appears to have no extra flavorings (whether fruit or spice) in it. It is malty and sweet, with a roasted syrupy note in the nose. Cruiser will do well with relatively strong food or desserts; its sweetness will overpower subtle foods. This is not a session beer, but it can be an interesting variation on the chosen session beer. Cruiser is clearly intended for winter. 3/5