Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Cold Mountain Winter Ale will make its annual return on November 10, and the brewery will be celebrating this beer’s 20th Anniversary with the one-time release of Imperial Cold Mountain.
Earlier this year, members of the Highland Brewing Company team were summoned in to work on a Sunday morning and were given a list of very important instructions to follow: “Don’t eat breakfast or drink coffee before arriving, and IF you brush your teeth, make it at least an hour before you arrive.” This is the moment that they knew they had been selected as a part of the sensory panel for the 20th Anniversary release of Cold Mountain Winter Ale, and they were suddenly stoked to “sacrifice” that Sunday. When they arrived, this group was greeted by Brewmaster Hollie Stephenson and Sensory Scientist Anna Sauls who had already been hard at work preparing “a variety of spice additions scaled down for sampling.” After a series of tastings followed by meticulous evaluation and a long discussion, the brewers finally had a recipe and could move forward in brewing this incredibly special batch of Cold Mountain Winter Ale.
First brewed under the name Holiday Ale in 1996, Cold Mountain Winter Ale is Asheville’s oldest seasonal craft beer release. With the intention of keeping this long-running offering fresh, each year’s version of Cold Mountain is dosed with a different mix of various spices to provide the drinker a fun, new aromatic and flavor experience with every release. Although each vintage has its surprises, you can always count on this brew to be “typically malty in body, lightly hopped” and filled with notes of “the best vanilla, hazelnut, and other flavors.” The finished beer weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 28 IBUs.
Considering this is a huge milestone for Cold Mountain Winter Ale, you just know that the folks at Highland Brewing have created something extra special to celebrate this beer’s 20th Anniversary. That creation is Imperial Cold Mountain, a special release that is “the Cold Mountain you know and love, but bigger.” Imperial Cold Mountain is a bit more “chocolate-forward, with hints of fruits and nuts, and a touch more warmth at 8% alcohol by volume.” This “one-time special brew” will be packaged in 1 liter bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draft. Bottles can only be purchased at the brewery for a limited time.
As far as the regular Cold Mountain Winter Ale goes, it will become officially available beginning on Thursday, November 10 at 4 p.m. at a special launch event to be held at the brewery. 22 oz. bottles, 1 liter bottles, 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and kegs of this elusive brew will then be released to distribution on Monday, November 14. Look for Cold Mountain Winter Ale on shelves and taps at select craft beer establishments in Alabama, Florida and throughout Highland Brewing’s full distribution footprint. This beer disappears with a quickness each and every year, so be sure to secure your bottles when you see them. Prost!
Vital Information for Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing Company
Release – Limited/Seasonal, officially releasing on November 10, 2016
Style – Winter Warmer
ABV – 5.2%
IBUs – 28
Malts – 2-Row Brewers Malt, Pilsen, Vienna, Chocolate, Wheat, Caramel 40 & Caramel 60
Hops – Cascade & Mount Hood
Availability – 22 oz. bottles, 1 liter bottles, 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.highlandbrewing.com/beer-finder/