The Halftime Pint: Carton Brewing Decoy Winter Warmer

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One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to day drink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith

The Beer: Decoy Winter Warmer, Carton Brewing Company, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

The Pub: Bar Great Harry, Brooklyn, New York

What you need to know: The Winter Warmer is a classic English style of seasonal brew.  A variation on the classic Old Ale, it’s a beer of moderate strength heavy on malt character. Spices are used occasionally to add to the “winter” flavor. Though there’s no “divining line” from when the style originates, the classics tend to be English and Belgian- think Sam Smith and Samichlaus.

Carton Brewing Company was founded by the Carton cousins, Chris and Augie, who recruited homebrewer Jesse Ferguson to head up the brewing operations.  They operate from a converted warehouse near the Jersey Shore, with a 15 barrel main system and 20 gallon “tippy” for experimental brews.

So, About this beer: Pours deep, purplish ruby with a thin mocha head. Raisins heavy on the aroma. Dates and allspice heavy on the initial flavor, fading to a really nice roast and cinnamon/nutmeg finish. Mouthfeel is crisp, but still a little viscous. For a 12 percenter, there’s almost no alcohol flavor.

The Verdict: Smooth for its size, it’s a fantastic fireside beer for sure.  It’s absolutely delicious, and I’d recommend a try if you see the nifty stacked box tap handle.  Do proceed with caution, though, as it’s a fairly strong if sneaky beer.

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