Beer Review – Aviator Brewing Company’s Frostnipper Winter Ale

Frostnipper Winter Ale from Aviator Brewing Co.

Yes, G-LO there is a Santa Claus and he drinks craft beer.   I am sure over the next few days many of the Booze Dancer’s posts will be reviews of Christmas swag.  For me I only asked for one thing,  that was for my sis to load up her cooler with some tasty growlers from Aviator Brewing in Fuquay Varina, NC and tuck some crafty brew under my tree.  I got my wish so here’s my review.

You may recall a few days ago I attempted to correct my karma and drop a Christmas hint by completing a long overdue review of Aviator’s Devil’s Tramping Ground.  My karma was corrected and the hint was understood as my sis gave me two growlers of the “Devil” on Christmas Eve Eve which I proceeded to share with my fellow Booze Dancers.

The Devil’s kicked off the holiday vacation with a bang but the real treat for Christmas,  tucked in the cooler with the two 64oz Devil’s, was a third growler filled with Aviator’s Frostnipper, their take on a winter ale.  We saved this one for Christmas dinner with my sis and future Brother-in-law.  It was well worth the two day wait.

Neither my sister nor her man has tried this one at the brewery so all we had to go on for anticipation was Aviators description:

Our interpretation of a fall seasonal beer.  This beer will curl your toes and put goosebumps on your arms.  A fine collection of traditional fall spices make this a great addition to the holiday season…it will make all humbugs cheery.  The beer is dark in color…a bit darker than brown ale.  There is a combination of Perle and Willamette hops to provide a contrasting intensity with the fall spices.  The beer contains a generous amount of smoked malt.

This beer goes in a different direction than most holiday brews and it is one that I wish others would follow.  Instead of cramming spices and Christmas trees into their winter brew Aviator goes light on the spice and big on rich, dark and malty flavors.

Technical specs:

  • Appearance:  Dark and opaque but not quite a stout.  A thin quickly dissipating creamy head (to be expected after 3 days in a growler)
  • Aroma:  Roasted malt, smoke and chocolate
  • Taste:  Creamy with big malt flavor.  Heavy on the toasted malt with smoky overtones  that are just right and do not overpower the beer.  Light spices and hops balance the malt and give the brew a little bit of bite.

This particular brew was awesome.   I think my boy G-LO would have gone crazy over this one.  With big malt and smoke it was like beer meets a smoky single malt Scotch.  The pairing of this brew with our holiday feast of prime rib, roasted root veggies, and my wife’s amazing mashed potatoes and leeks was perfect.  The only bad thing is that the beer is all gone.

To say that I can’t wait for Aviator to start bottling their beer and distributing it up here would be an understatement.  We get some pretty good beers in our area but to add beers like this from Aviator to our choices would be awesome.   I have now had three of their offerings and put them up there with my favorite breweries (Great Lakes, Smuttynose, Dogfish Head, etc..).

They are certainly a step up from your typical brew pub.  My typical take on many brew pubs, places like a Iron Hill Brewery, Rock Bottom Brewery or other small one-off brew pubs, is that I enjoy the freshness of  the beer but wouldn’t go out of my way to bring the beer home.  Aviator is a class above and I would even go so far as to be nice to my sister to get their beer.  This is true craft brewing, artisanal beer that deserves a bigger audience and is ready for it.  Fortunately it sounds like bottle are coming soon.  They already have awesome marketing/labels ready for it, see below for proof.

image courtesy of http://www.aviatorbrew.com

So here’s hoping that the New Year brings us peace, prosperity, joy, and more brews from from Aviator!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

4 replies »

    • Sorry bro & Thanks for the brew (from all the Booze Dancers). I guess the post would lead one to believe that my sis sourced the beer, packed it, and transported it on her own and you were just along for the ride. We all know the real mastermind behind the underground beer railroad to NC is you. I do have to kiss her ass to you keep connected to you.

      I hope that the massive quantities of beef and accompanying outrageous bacon infused side dishes prepared by my wife for you on Christmas would at least be a down payment on repaying your generous gift of holiday brew (and keep the brew pipeline flowing).


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