This is the one of the last Christmas/Winter seasonal beers I have in my possession, and the third from Ireland, after the Yule Ól and Sanity Claus. I would have posted about this around a week ago, but I was having too much fun doing very little for Christmas.
8 Degrees Brewing's A Winter's Ale pours a hazy amber, much lighter than I expected, with a bubbly white head. At first sniff, it's not much different from a pumpkin ale, although I find it thankfully has more in common with the Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin than the bland and artificial Pumpkinhead. Cool clove is ever-present, with spicy peel and zest notes taking the back seat. Clove is again present in the taste, although this time it's accompanied by a lovely dark fruit and sugary malt character. The finish has a low hop and spice flavour, reminding you of the beer's seasonality.
It's very tasty, to be sure, but it never really takes off. This could be the lack of complexity or the lightness of the body, but I feel it doesn't really reach it's full, satisfying potential.
Again, the search goes on.