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Hidden treasures found in variety beer packs

Dec 13, 2013

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little bit this week, and by comfort zone I mean not go to the same business every week to get my beer.  So this week I just happened to be perusing around a local grocery store when I stumbled upon the Winter Variety Pack.  

I found this package interesting as it carries more than one brand of craft beer. You can find Widmer Brothers, RedHook and Kona Brewing Company inside as it contains Widmer Brother's Alchemy Ale and Brrr (winter seasonal), RedHook's Winter Hook #29 and Kona's Pipeline Porter.
Thanks to Maple City Ice Co.,  you can pick up this variety pack at the following area locations:
Wal Mart Supercenters in Fremont and Elyria
• Kroger in Sandusky and both Fremont locations
• Gardner's Super Value in Norwalk
• Discount Drug Mart in Avon Lake
• Piggy's Main Street Market in South Amherst
• Gas Depot in New London
• Harney's Market in Sandusky (Perkins Township)
• Hogues Foodland Market in Bellevue
• A & A Food Market in Lakeside
Normal retail price is $15.99, which is a great price for the 12 pack.
Maple City Ice Co., located at 371 Cleveland Road in Norwalk, can be reached at 419-668-2531.  
You probably know them for distributing mainly Anheuser-Busch and Yuengling products, however they have been expanding their craft beer portfolio to offer the Firelands area some fantastic new brews.  
I chose two beers from the variety pack to review this week and will review the other two next month. 
RedHook Winter Hook #29 6% ABV
This brown ale is a nice smooth and mild variation of a winter warmer.  Pouring a nice dark brown to almost black cherry in color, a nice tan head forms that disappears quickly.  Aromas of dry hops and caramel, as well as some slight toast and biscuit lead the way to tastes of caramel, chocolate, toast and bitey hop finish with a touch of grapefruit.  
Winter Hook #29 is smooth and mild and the bitey finish adds a wonderful compliment to pairing with spicy foods.  The light body and mild carbonation give this beer a very pleasant mouthfeel and at 6% abv, it's very drinkable
Widmer Brothers' Brrr 7% ABV
Brrr is one of my favorite winter seasonals.  Pouring a nice traditional red ale color, there is about a 1/4 inch of head that goes away quickly leaving a bit of blotchy, thin lacing along the glass.  Aromas similar to an imperial red ale fill the nose with pine, grapefruit, roasted malt and fresh baked bread.  
An abundance of flavors fill the palate that include pine, floral and citrus hops, as well as a touch of ginger, fresh bread and a wonderful caramel finish that leaves the sweetness linger for a bit on the tongue.  
A great winter beer for my taste preference.  I will enjoy quite a few of these throughout my holiday festivities.  
Widmer, Red Hook and Kona joined forces to become the Craft Brew Alliance. All three breweries were originally located in the Pacific Northwest (Kona in Hawaii, we'll go ahead and say the geographic label is close enough).  Widmer and RedHook joined forces in 2008 and Kona entered in 2010.  To learn more about the Craft Brew Alliance, check out their website at www.craftbrew.com.
I'll talk to you all next week, and until then-drink responsibly.