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I haven?t been doing much beer drinking recently and the last proper pint I had was on Christmas Eve. Thankfully I took notes in my little book of beer, so I am now able to tell you all about it. I didn?t want Proxam or Borntoloaf to get there first either, so I thought I really ought to get writing before I forgot all about what it tasted and looked like! This beer was a seasonal brew that we sampled in The Market Hotel in Chesterfield. It?s very aptly named for the time of year and is called Winter Storm. Winter Strom is brewed on behalf of Ushers (and RefreshUK) at the Thomas Hardy brewery in Dorchester, Dorset. RefreshUK brews, distributes, exports and imports beer and lager. They also deal with other brands, such as Lowenbrau, Caledonian Brewery, Wychwood Brewery and the Far East Beer Company. Ushers (and their consultant Dr David Taylor, who joined the company in 1993) chose the Thomas Hardy Brewery as the location for brewing Ushers beers. Winter Storm is part of a series of beers produced for limited periods throughout the year ~ The ?Four Seasons? range. All the beers are 4 % ABV and are all available to drink for three month periods. They are Spring Fever (March to May), Summer Madness (June to August), Autumn Frenzy (September to November) and Winter Storm (December to February). Winter Storm, as I mentioned earlier, weighs in at 4% ABV, making it the ideal strength for a lunchtime or evening Session beer. It is brewed using Styrian Goldings hops and (for that special touch) Scottish Whisky malt. Looks wise, it is a light tawny brown colour with a thin light head. After pouring it took a little time to settle, but when it did it cleared well and actually did resemble a glass of whisky ~ a lovely BIG pint sized glass of whisky, but a glass of whisky all the same! The texture was smooth, a little syrupy perhaps, but it slipped down nicely and VERY easily?which is a good thing because we were drinking with my brother (tra
ined in Scotland and drinks like an extremely thirsty fish). The aroma of Winter Storm is predominantly hoppy, with a bitter maltiness coming through. There is a faint flowery scent present and a little hint of sweetness, but this is not unpleasant and doesn?t detract from the general fragrance and pleasant maltiness. Taste wise, Winter Storm is quite strong and pretty full-bodied; belying the relatively low alcohol content (I say low because generally winter beers are darker and stronger ~ not always, but as a rule). The hop taste comes through quite strongly, but this is well balanced out by soft fruity overtones. The Scottish Whisky malt is also evident, making the finish and aftertaste distinct, slightly sweet and nicely warming. It coats your palate in a cosy sort of way and sets you up to go out into the cold. The brewers have succeeded in creating what they set out to do ~ they have produced a beer that suits the season down to the ground, without going down the usual Winter Beer equals Christmassy spices and dark liquorice taste route. Our pints of winter Storm cost us £2.00 each and we thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas afternoon as a result. Winter Storm made a welcome change from some of the heavier Christmas and Winter Ales we sampled that afternoon. It was tasty and warming and left us wanting more ~ what more can you ask of a beer? ~~~Brewery Details. Thomas Hardy Brewery, Weymouth Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset. Tel: 01305 251251 http://www.thomashardybrewery.co.uk http://www.refreshuk.com/ http://www.refreshuk.com/refreshuk_brands_ushers.htm
Brewed with Scottish Whisky Malt for a warming rich body. Styrian Goldings hops give the bitterness and floral aroma.