Enjoying Some Malty Winter Goodness
A Review of Cold Mountain Winter Ale by Highland Brewing Co.
Posted on 2/29/2012 by Chops
                   
Great
The winter season brings beer lovers all sorts of tasty brews from winter warmers to savory stouts. Winter warmers in particular are really interesting brews because they can vary wildly in interpretation. Spicy, malty, hoppy, boozy, it's all on the table. Breweries relish the opportunity to have fun and get creative under the guise of anything goes. I recently had the pleasure of sampling the Cold Mountain Winter Ale, a winter warmer from the Highland Brewing Co.

In the glass, this beer has a rich deep amber coloration with a dark reddish undertone. It comes with a frothy white head that likes to stick around for a little while. On the nose, a sweet malty character takes root as the dominant trait. I picked up on a few spice notes, namely a cinnamon infused caramel. I also detected a whiff of vanilla and a nondescript roasted note swirling around. No big surprises going into that first taste, just expected a mildly spiced standard winter warmer.

As expected, the taste is very malt heavy. Much like with the aroma, all other traits take a back seat to the malt. There are some spice notes, again mostly cinnamon. The vanilla also reappears as a taste note. The hop profile is very muted and takes on an odd earthy quality which seems to battle the spices. The roasted note also reappears as a malt compliment, but it comes across as somewhat weird and distracting. I went through the entire bomber and still couldn't identify it. The mouthfeel is decently smooth, but comes across as a bit chalky on the finish and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Highland's Cold Mountain Winter Ale is a tasty winter warmer that keeps your taste buds guessing. It's a malty delight that can be enjoyed by most beer fans. Recommending this brew to a specific camp is a bit tricky, but that's only because winter warmers are dice rolls by default. No worries though because Highland likes to change up their Cold Mountain winter warmer every year. So if you didn't enjoy this version, be sure to give it another go next year.

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Cold Mountain Winter Ale by Highland Brewing Co.
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