This week’s Tasting Notes embraces the “frigid” temperatures of what appears to be Tampa’s one weekend of winter by cozying up with a little Global Warmer Cloudy Red Ale from Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, New York).
Not too long ago, I let you all know about Global Warmer’s return as a limited, Seasonal release from Sixpoint’s Cycliquids Series (click here to check out that full post). To stand out from a market that is currently overcrowded with traditional Holiday Ales, this riff on the Winter Warmer is actually an American Red Ale that is “unfiltered [and] hop-intensified.” Weighing in at 7% ABV and 70 IBUs, this brew is guaranteed to make you rethink your approach to cold weather drinking. With availability on draft and in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, Global Warmer can still be found at craft beer establishments in Alabama, Florida, and the rest of Sixpoint’s distribution footprint. Alright, I believe it is now time to warm the body, mind and soul with a little Tasting Notes action!
Tasting Notes for Global Warmer Cloudy Red Ale from Sixpoint Brewery
Appearance: Fresh off the pour, Global Warmer presents itself as deep amber in color. Once held to direct light, the colors gain vibrancy and expose caramel-hued browns, rusty reds, and just a subtle smattering of deep orange. For an unfiltered beer, it is actually quite clear – just a slight haze to it – and displays a steady carbonation level that is eager to feed the finger of off-white foam resting above. Creamy in texture, the head has pretty good retention and casually falls to a thin but sturdy top cap. The foam effortlessly grabs the glass to leave notches of lace throughout the drink.
Aroma: Oh my, the hops have certainly come out to play. Distinct notes of grapefruit rind and pith are the first to provide the olfactory with a zealous hello. This intense but lovely quality is quickly followed with piney, herbal and grassy tones. Gently and slightly timid, the malts surface to lend just a grace of caramel sweetness. At this point, anyone who grabbed this beer in hopes of finding a spice-laden Winter Ale has been emphatically informed that they are in for a much different experience.
Taste: The grapefruit characteristics are hard at work here once again with notes of bitter rind, zest and juice. Pushing forward to match the intensity level of that grapefruit is a hefty presence of pine that is resinous, aggressive, sticky and dank. Slightly herbal and floral tones then bloom from the pine, and this hop experience closes with a subtle fruit basket of various tropical and citrus fruits. Just as you feel the beer is finished, a caramel and biscuity malt presence wanders in to coolly supply balance. Any of that initial intensity from the hops is suddenly an afterthought . . . well, at least until the next sip.
Mouthfeel: Global Warmer is medium in body with a medium carbonation level. On the palate, the beer coats with a gentle stick that is more from hop oils than sweetness. Bitter to start, but finishes reasonably dry, slightly sweet and quite balanced. Aftertaste is just wisps of floral and pine hop tones mingling with a bit of caramel.
Final Thoughts: Basically what we have here is an India Red Ale masquerading as a Winter Warmer. This is by no means a bad thing, but we can actually make a case that this indeed does fit the mold of a Holiday Ale. Global Warmer may abandon traditional holiday spices to showcase grapefruit notes sourced from hops, but you do have to consider that this is a fruit that reaches its peak during the holiday season. Then we have the pine to remind us of cold weather hikes in the mountains or through vast pine forests. Even the beer’s light but essential caramel and biscuity malt characteristics could conjure up thoughts of the various baked goods and sweets that we all tend to crave during late December and into the New Year. Sure, some could call all of that a reach. Then again, if the malt presence was dialed up a notch or two, we would basically be talking about an American-style Barleywine here. All in all, Global Warmer is a fantastic change of pace from the redundancy experienced during Winter Warmer Season, and it once again acts as a more than solid example of Sixpoint Brewery’s prowess with hops. Hell, I think I’ll indulge a little and open another. Prost!