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Warmer Winter Winter Warmer From Cigar City; Caramel, Fig, and Light Alcohol Bite

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot... at least we have Florida made beer. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.

With the holiday season wrapping up, and New Year's Eve right around the corner, it seemed prudent to take a look at a seasonal beer to share during the last of the winter festivities.

This is Cigar City Brewing's Warmer Winter Winter Warmer, a 10% abv 'old ale' packaged in 750ml bottles by the prevalent Tampa-based brewery. As Floridians, we're used to a 'warmer winter', but the tradition of a malt-heavy high alcohol beer for winter is not lost on us. We can still appreciate the style even during the low 70's. Brrr!

See also: Der Chancellor From Tequesta Brewing Company; Mild, Sweet, and Slightly Floral

It's with this tradition that CCB brews up this version of an old ale: a style that contains such classics as Avery Old Jubilation, Fuller's Vintage Ale, and Founders Curmudgeon. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, old ales will be "malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex blend of dried-fruit ... and/or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol and oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in Sherry or Port."

Pouring this beer into a snifter, the dark orange color becomes quite evident, as does the mild tan head and an aroma that contains notes of toffee and peanut brittle, with some mild floral hop character. On the palate, this beer is thick and chewy, something that is very welcome in a beverage that aims to warm the belly. Caramel and fig show themselves dominantly, with a slight alcohol tinge that hits at the end.

For a holiday beer, this sticks closer to tradition than is normal for Cigar City, a brewery that tends to go for experimentation with spices and treatments, but it works for them and works really well. This is a superb post dinner drink to sip and converse by the fire pit, even in our mild winter temperatures.

We found our bottle at a local ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, for a moderate $12 price point.

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