I don't know about you, but I'm just about ready for winter to be over. As I was taking off the security grilles at the shop the other day, in the pouring rain, I thought "This is odd, we've not had pouring rain for ages". That's because it's been mostly frozen, and fallen as snow.
I don't mind the snow, but I'm bored with winter. The only good thing about it is that my home cellar (a proper, unheated, slightly damp underground room) is at fridge temperature, which means that all of the beer I have is ready to drink (or will be after a few minutes in the glass). It's perfect for nights like this, when I come home after a stupidly busy day, and need something to satisfy me. Cold weather means big beers, and they don't come much bigger than Schneider's Aventinus Weizen Eisbock.
This bottle had sat long enough that the sediment was totally settled out, so after the first pour, and before the all-important swirl, the beer was perfectly clear. Out of curiosity, I took a sip - too obvious. Big, slightly hot, too much, even for a cold evening at the arse-end of winter. I gave the bottle a swirl to disturb the yeast sediment and added it. A storm cloud swirled through the glass, blocking out the light. Another taste, and a different beer is revealed. Both the taste and the texture have been enriched, with a silky smoothness being added to the rum-soaked dried fruit character, and a dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. It's still big, but it's balanced.
Beers like this only really work in the cold weather. They're a real seasonal treat, a reward for dealing with cold weather, or long, hard days at work, when you feel that you need to be nourished rather than refreshed. When it's cold out, there's nothing more satisfying than a well-made strong beer. If you believe that beers can act as punctuation for the day, then this beer is an emphatic full stop at the end of it. And what a lovely way to finish.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to miss winter when it's gone.