Chad9976 (1439) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 3, 2015
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
I can think of at least obstacles Peak Organic Winter Session Ale has to overcome. Firstly, it dubs itself a “session ale,” but is 5% ABV, which is higher than what most people consider a true session beer. Secondly, it calls itself a winter beer, yet there are no spices to the beer like a winter warmer. Beer drinkers tend to hate it when breweries slap “winter” on a beer of any style other than a traditional winter warmer. And lastly, no one can seem to agree on what style category this belongs to; that tends to activate most beer geeks’ OCD responses. Disirregardless of all these things, I found it to be a surprisingly great wheaty amber-style beer that’s extremely efficient for its weight and has a palette that could be enjoyed year-round.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had an expiration date of 6/2015 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Beautiful reddish/copper color with a near crystal clarity. Pours to a fairly large, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains pretty well.
Smell: Spicy/citrusy hop aroma coupled with sweet toasted malt. Quite enticing.
Taste: What I really like about this beer is that it defies most traditional style category guidelines and shows how arbitrary they are. This beer has elements of amber ale maltiness, IPA hoppiness and wheat beer… wheatiness. There’s a toasted malt sweetness noticeable right away, it creates for candy-like tastes of caramel and iced coffee. This was hopped with just Citra and it was a good choice. There’s considerable bitterness from beginning to end (but especially through the middle) with different flavors coming from it. Spicy and herbal at first with notes of citrus and tropical fruit on the finish. The wheat gives it a consistent bready character and accentuates the dry bitterness from the hops, creating for an almost pretzel-like flavor. Overall, this one of the most creative recipes I’ve encountered in a while and I really appreciate that.
Drinkability: If you hadn’t told me this was only 5% ABV I’d probably estimate it as being a little bit higher. I find arguing over what is and is not “session beer” to be a futile debate, though I could see this being relatively sessionable if you consider back-to-back servings to be sessionable. There’s quite a bit of body to this brew, it’s not light at all. The mouthfeel is crisp with just enough carbonation. It finishes fairly clean with a minor dry sensation that eventually fades. I wouldn’t consider it refreshing, but it’s actually versatile enough to stand up to a meal.
Arborescence (29) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - FEB 11, 2012
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Brown, with a hint of ruby red, pours a thin head.
Interesting! Rather strong toffee/caramel, with some fresh fruitiness — presumably due to the wheat and Citra hops — and a hint of hops. Delicious aroma!
Not as sweet or candy-like as you might expect from the aroma, but the toffee/caramel characteristics are certainly there. Initially the taste is almost disappointing, because it doesn’t compare with the aroma, but it’s the aftertaste that counts here, and the sweet notes linger at the back of the tongue. The wheat and fruity notes are quite masked, but the beer has a certain freshness to it, which is peculiar when combined with the toasty sweetness. Good stuff, but it could use a bit more depth.
I’ve had one or two brews by Peak Organic at pubs in the US, but I haven’t formed a clear impression of them yet. They have some very interesting sounding beers, and I do hope to get my hands on more; this one is promising.
maxwelldeux (4169) - Snohomish, Washington, USA - NOV 19, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Pours a very dark amber color with very little head. Very hoppy nose on this, which was a very pleasant surprise. Taste is a little hoppy, but a very easy drink.
DarLeeMa (20) - New York, USA - DEC 13, 2014
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is one of my favorite beers. I could drink these all day. Amazing color, delicious taste and aftertaste. Perfect winter beer
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Cybercat (4080) - Georgia, USA - FEB 1, 2011
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aroma is quite strong and rye-ish with a rosiny overtone and just a hint of citrus. It pours a dark coppery amber with a fairly thick buff-tan head that leaves a decent amount of lacing. Flavor has a strong rye core with hoppy and citrus tones and a whisper of caramel. Texture is quite smooth and somewhat fizzy, leaving behind a nice, if not too persistent, tingle.
BREWMUSKCLES (2397) - New Jersey, USA - JAN 13, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
nice pine hop character with an initial barrel wood taste and a bit of moldy funk. heavy enough ivy in the mix there is a noticeable sweetness in the finish after a couple of of good sips. a creamy vanilla flavor permeates more at first taste and less so later. should be called soulstice because it is too satisfying to be a session. a bit of spicy licorice and cinnamon.
tone77 (256) - Pennsylvania, USA - APR 28, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a dark brown color. Smell is hops and malts. Taste is hops and bitter up front, than some malts kicking in, a touch of wheat. Overall an interesting and enjoyable beer.
Stldsf1 (616) - Florida, USA - DEC 27, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Really liked this. Has the typical holiday spices and color but the citrus/pineapple hops flavor makes this a bit unique. Very good.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
bhensonb (12577) - Woodland, California, USA - DEC 5, 2010
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from Whole Foods. Pours darkly ruddy with a foamy off-white head. Pineapple? Maybe. And some roast malt. Near full body. Flavor is roast malt with a lot of hop flavor. Nicely bittingly bitter. This is dang flavorful stuff. Pineapple? Yeah, maybe, probably, ok, they say it is. Why not?
Slipstream (2236) - USA - DEC 22, 2010
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Good aroma: floral hops, grains, coffee. Clean dark bread flavor, some rye. Mostly dry and a bit astringent. Good brew - one of Peak’s better offerings, and a nice seasonal surprise.