Beer Review: BELL’S WINTER WHITE ALE

Beer Review: BELL’S WINTER WHITE ALE

Winter White Ale, despite its turbid and unfiltered presentation, boasts a radiant golden hue when poured from a 12 oz. bottle. The rocky, dense foam atop exhibits exceptional head retention for the style. However, the presence of yeast sediment at the bottle’s bottom, while traditional for witbiers, adds a layer of complexity that may not be suitable for everyone’s palate. The recent packaging refresh, although conservative, brings a subtle aesthetic upgrade, accompanied by the introduction of a 16oz can format—a commendable enhancement.

Aroma

The aroma of Winter White aligns with expectations for a witbier, offering notes of bright orange peel, phenolic coriander, and clove. Beyond the conventional, there’s an added layer of depth reminiscent of chamomile tea and candied ginger. It’s a well-defined, expressive bouquet that pays homage to classic witbiers like Hoegaarden, setting a high standard for the style. Notably, Winter White avoids excessive esters, steering clear of the ripening banana aroma found in some American witbier renditions.

Taste

Winter White’s flavor profile is notably well-crafted. The body is vibrant, focusing on a superb front and mid-palate that introduces medium creaminess from the wheat addition and a subtle balancing bitterness in the background. The finish incorporates chalk and slate for a touch of minerality without veering into a dusty or powdery mouthfeel. A hint of white sugar maintains a medium-bodied structure, allowing the citrus zest and spice character to shine. Despite Bell’s Brewery’s silence on specific beer specifications, the absence of added spices is a remarkable feat.

Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of Winter White is noteworthy for its balance. The medium creaminess from the wheat addition complements the delicate bitterness, creating a harmonious experience. The addition of chalk and slate adds a touch of minerality without compromising the beer’s overall texture. The absence of a dusty or powdery sensation further contributes to the beer’s refreshing character.

Overall

In conclusion, Bell’s Winter White Ale stands as a technically flawless and brightly flavored witbier. Refreshing and well-executed, it could easily be mistaken for a summer seasonal, although firmly holding its place as a winter offering. The beer’s classic witbier characteristics, coupled with its commendable technical execution, make it a suitable choice for those seeking a cold summer beer on a winter night. While not as avant-garde as some contemporaries in the winter seasonal category, Winter White’s longevity and consistency are undeniable merits in their own right.