Anyone who reads my blog knows what a huge fan I am of the beer Woodruff Brewing Company produces. Since the Downtown Grill and Brewery has been opened, it has been my go to place to get a locally produced craft beer. Woodruff’s beers are tried and true English and German style ales. They have a core line up of seven different beers (Pale Ale, Alt, Kolsch/Blonde, IPA, Porter, Nut Brown and Stout, repectively) that are incredibly solid, tasty and well liked by locals. Other then a very limited run of Pilsner back around 7 years ago, this line up has not changed. Until now that is. Today, January 4th, 2012 Woodruff released thier newest recipe. It’s a Winter Warmer called Captain’s Winter Ale. The name is a reference to Captain Woodruff, for whom the building that houses the brewery (& the brewery itself) is named.
I spoke with brewer Dave Ohmer about this beer. He tells me that only one batch of this was brewed. It’s an extremely limited edition beer. When it’s gone, it’s gone. I asked him after all these years, what made them decide to brew a seasonal? He told me there were many factors, but said that it is primarly inspired by the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival that is taking place in Townsend on February 4th of this year. They wanted to brew something special for it. The timing was right and they were able to fit it in to their brewing schedule. I asked if this is something we can expect in the future, specifically are they going to start doing seasonal beers. The impression I got from him is that it’s not very likely. The reason is that Woodruff only has so much brewing capacity. Their beers tend to turn over rather quickly, and the brewing schedule doesn’t normally allow for more then what they already have. Not to say to rule this out completely, because you never know.
So what type of beer is it? Dave tells me it’s Woodruff’s take on an English Old Ale or a Winter Warmer. Also known as an English Strong Ale, these types of beers were typically made during the Winter months and were the precusors to Porters.
So how is it? It’s delicious! It’s a high gravity dark beer that isn’t as thick as a stout. I pick up hints of chocolate, vanilla and roastyness in the smell. When I drink it, the mouth feel is great with a nice carbonation. My taste buds pick up on coffee, hints of roasted chocolate and alcohol warmth. The malt and hops are balanced nicely. All in all, I really like this beer. Like I said, they didn’t make very much so I highly suggest going immediately to the brewery to try this before it’s gone. Dave tells me there won’t be any kegs of this. Growler fills are not available either. Hell, it’s not even available in pints. They are only offering 7 ounce pours and when this runs out, that’s it. When it does I’ll switch back to drinking my usual IPA, but until then, warm me up with Captain’s Winter Ale.