Laurelwood Brewery in Portland is on a roll. They opened in 2001, became certified organic in 2002 (the first brewery in Portland to do so), have expanded into five restaurant locations, and just recently started bottling their beer.
Or, more correctly, I should say their beer became available here in bottles recently for the first time. I don’t know precisely when they started bottling it.
Always keeping an eye out for seasonals and special bottlings, I picked up a bottle of their Vinter Varmer last month. This is their strong, er, Winter Warmer(ish) offering, 6.4% alcohol.
Appearance: Hazy mahogany with faint red at the edges when held up to the light. Head is color of wood putty (beige).
Smell: Malty, warm, inviting; molasses, some spiciness, old leather, brown sugar sweetness.
Taste: Right and malty strong ale with a nice dry spicy character in the middle. Hop bitterness comes into play at the back of the mouth. A bit of molasses-soaked dark fruit—currants, maybe.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full with a nice dry bitter character to it.
Overall: Very nicely done, a classic (Northwest) American Winter Warmer.