Dining & Drink

A Winter Ale Worth Cracking Open

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(STAFF PHOTO: J.T. WAMPLER) Nutcracker Ale is a 5.8 percent alcohol winter warmer from Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City.

Boulevard Breaks Out A Holiday Treat

Wamp’s Wisdom

Nutcracker Ale is a 5.8 percent alcohol winter warmer from Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City. It’s brewed with five different malts, including wheat malt along with brown and dark sugars. Hops used are Cascade, Chinook, Magnum and wet leaf Chinook.
It pours a brown-reddish color with a slight head that disappears rather quickly leaving meager lacing. Aroma is of grapefruit and honey. Taste is an explosion of flavors going from grapefruit up front to molasses in the middle and finishing with a persisting bitterness that welcomes the next sip. As this ale warms, its flavors become more intense and pronounced.
This is a lot hoppier than most winter warmers and would be a good Yule quaff for the hophead in the family.
Pair with smoked cheese and wild game.
Rating: 4 caps

Rico’s Reaction

I’m generally not partial to anything dealing with the term nutcracker. All right, I enjoy the music Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” minus the dancing and story hoopla that goes with it.
OK, there was also that novelty wood-carved nutcracker the ex-wife inherited from her grandparents — the one shaped like the body of a woman in which the goodies were popped open between the legs. And if there was a Nutcracker Brand beef jerky, I’m sure I’d give it a shot.
Luckily, I am partial to things labeled Boulevard, and the Kansas City brewery’s Nutcracker Ale is no exception to that rule. Packed with flavor and body, a drink of Nutcracker delivers a nice bite — a bite that acts as a good antidote to the sting of the return of cold weather.
It’s enough of an antidote, I might even consider dropping the “Airing of the Grievances” from my yearly holiday celebration. It’s almost a Festivus miracle.
Rating: 4 caps

Rating system

One Cap: Put it back in the horse!
Two Caps: Consume only if the other choice is Tijuana tap water or Coors Light.
Three Caps: Acceptable without standing out. The Tito Jackson of beer, if you will.
Four Caps: Nice beer that rises above most but may not deliver enough to be considered great.
Five Caps: Truly great beer that delivers on all counts. A credit to its style. Could only be better if served by scantily clad concubines.
Six Caps: Any five cap beer served by scantily clad concubines.

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