Lost Coast Winterbraun

Lost Coast Brewing Company reviews: Tangerine Wheat

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I have been applying to jobs non-stop in a serious effort to get even a single opportunity to prove that I’m a hard worker.  It’s been really difficult being jobless for the last 6 months, having only one income, and never getting to spend money on anything other than food, rent, bills, and the very rare dinner or event.  Not being able to contribute, and going into interview after interview and coming up second best every time is wearing me thin, but what else can I do besides carry on and hope the next one will see that I’m eager to work.  I envy people who have jobs, who don’t have time to get bored or get sick of constantly searching…don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for all the free time I have, but it’s not making me any money or furthering my experience.  The unemployed life is such a vicious circle, not being able to afford an education because I can’t get a job that won’t hire me because I need more experience, which I can’t seem to obtain because I can’t get hired at other places due to my lack of an education.  /pity party.

At this point, I’d be happy copy writing for breweries or something.  I love writing about beer, I wish I could get paid to do it.  Alas, in such a big world, with so many other people looking for the same thing, it’s terribly difficult to get noticed, so I’ll just keep on keeping on until I can find a break, and then…watch out, because I will finally have a purpose.

For now, reviewing beer on my limited budget is what I’m good at, so I’ll continue to post and read and interact with the wonderfully supportive craft beer community.  We’ll just have to see how many events I’m going to be able to attend later on.  Tonight’s review (from yesterday) is of Lost Coast Brewing Company’s Winterbraun Ale, an english brown ale winter warmer with 6.5%ABV.

Pouring it into my infamous snifter, it manifested itself in a rich chocolate brown color with cherry-caramel highlights.  Directly from the cold of my refrigerator, it looked thick and almost viscous with bubbles and specks appearing to be suspended, rising slowly to the surface in the chocolaty murk and gradually speeding up as the brew warms.  A lovely tawny finger-thick frothy head settled itself on top of the liquid once I finished pouring, but dissipated rather quickly into a thin collar after only a minute.  Slow streams of languid bubbles were present throughout the drink, keeping it alive with carbonation.

The aroma was very subdued when I first stuck my nose in it, but soon enough subtle overtones of sweet milk chocolate, caramel, mild spicy saaz hops, and lightly roasted, dry crystal malts emanated from the beer.  It was almost like this winter ale didn’t want to give up its precious scent, and it kept me searching as it tossed combinations of the different aromatic elements into the air trying to confuse me.  Letting it warm a little, there was a sweetness I couldn’t put my finger on.  It was definitely fruity, but it was dull and thick without much juice, and instead smelled almost seedy and grainy.  I recognized the scent from somewhere…it wasn’t prunes or plums, raisins or cherries…figs!  Fig newtons!  It reminded me of fig newtons!  Very proud of myself for being able to figure out the fig smell, I delved further and decided that it was more of a fig baked in brown sugar.  Warm, dark, sweet, and delicious – it really added that extra dimension to the nose that may have otherwise been lacking.

After a few sips, I noticed the Winterbraun carried a nice medium mouthfeel with moderate tingly carbonation that kept my mouth dry after each drink.  I tasted quite a bit of caramel and a lightly roasted nuttiness right off the bat, followed by the figs, which were accompanied by something that resembled over-ripe plums – something that wasn’t present in the nose.  There were some smatterings of bready flavors just under a nice sweet malty base, and despite my thinking that there was going to be more chocolate in it due to the smell and color, I found very little that actually was more like cocoa powder than solid chocolate.  All of the flavors together along with the medium body really made this brew feel rich, smooth, and thickly silky on my tongue, and I only caught a tiny bit of a lightly bitter finish due to the spicy saaz hops.

Honestly, I may have been expecting more from this beer, and though the flavors were good and everything fit together really well, it just didn’t spark my interest even after a second bottle the next day.  It’s easy to drink, but for it to be a winter warmer, it wasn’t all that warming at just 6.5%ABV…I mean, sure I felt a little flushed as I started it, but my body quickly adapted and the feeling was lost among the smooth sweetness of it all.  Now I’m wondering if I should regret having SanTan’s Winter Warmer first, because if I start comparing other “winter warmers” to that, I don’t know how many will have much of a chance, ha!

ps. In case you didn’t notice, the blog will be snowing ever so lightly along the top until January in honor of the winter season, and because I can’t have real snow in Phoenix.

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