I know, Punxsutawney Phil claimed spring is coming early this year. And yeah, I’m beyond ready to not freeze; although I predict I might need my parka for a hot minute. But also! Who named him? I get that he’s from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, but still.. With the comings of spring and summer we back away from those darker winter ales, stouts and porters which I’m already slightly depressed about. We trade in dark beers for light, sweaters for tank tops and beanies for sunglasses.. but I’ll still be reminiscing! Okay- I’m getting way ahead of myself right now.. it’s only February (let me hold back my premature tears)!
I get so sucked in to the amazing breweries that are immediately outside my doorstep that when I run across another Washington brewery I get a little giddy. Bellingham has to be one of my favorite cities in Washington to hang out in, even though I don’t make it there quite often. It has such an epic northwest vibe: the outdoors, more relaxed vibes, coffee shops, co-ops & definitely some downright killer breweries.
I’ve danced with a few winter ale’s this season among other dark beers (I’ll always be loyal to my stouts/porters, shocking I know), but I was pleasantly surprised by Kulshan’s Kitten Mittens Winter Ale. Plus, can you imagine a kitten with mittens on? Reminds me of that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the episode where Charlie invents mittens for cats so they aren’t so loud running around. Okay- focus… I grabbed this can at The Hop and Hound in Bothell, which is a local taproom and bottle shop. I found myself eyeing the rows of beer to find a really great Washington beer I haven’t really dabbled with yet. As soon as I saw Kulshan I swooped up the can immediately. The pour is a dark brown and without light behind it looks completely black. I got almost no head while pouring, maybe a quarter inch of a nice espresso brown color, but smaller micro-bubbles which made it smooth. The aroma was malty with yeast (dare I say doughy?) with notes of molasses and brown sugar. I’m starting to appreciate the notes of malts, and this winter warmer pointed out those more toasted and caramel malts. This beer had a way better mouthfeel than most winter beers I’ve had lately, I could actually get a little thickness out of it, comparable to a lot of darker beers, and it left me feeling quite satisfied. I felt like with every sip I got a little more flavor out of it, kind of like a little surprise! Quick, swoop up all the winter warmers while you still have a chance!!