Winter is Coming. Celebrate the Season with Festeroo Winter Ale.
Baby, is it cold outside? Stoke your inner fire with Hop Valley’s classic winter warmer ale. That’s right, Festeroo Winter Ale returns just in time for colder weather and those frosty days and nights.
A longtime staple of Hop Valley’s lineup of seasonal releases, Festeroo offers a Northwest interpretation of English-style old ales according to Hop Valley Head Brewer Trevor Howard.
“We’ve been brewing Festeroo since the winter of 2009 and the beer style started out as an English old ale, which is kind of deep red, malty, strong alcohol,” said Howard. “It’s kind of evolved into a more Northwest take on it—a little hoppier, a little lighter in color.”
The general type of beer harkens back to the days of yore when the beers that people were drinking tended to change with the seasons. Dark, heavily malted beers that were stored and aged by breweries before being sold to pubs and the public came to be known as “old” ales. Traditionally, these were brewed earlier in the year then stored until winter. The bit of tart flavor that is synonymous with the style arises from the secondary fermentation that occurs during the aging process.
Festeroo has been a work-in-progress since its debut with slight variations to the recipe from batch to batch. With the current edition, though, the brewers feel like they’ve found a sweet spot.
“The recipe changes a little bit every year,” said Howard. “But this year’s is pretty close to last year’s. It was a hit so we kept it pretty similar—similar hopping scheme, similar malts.”
True to the winter warmer style, Festeroo is meant to be sipped, not gulped. With an impressive ABV of nearly 7% (6.8% to be exact), this one is best approached with a bit of respect for its strength. We recommend a snifter or tulip glass to showcase the ruby-brown or reddish-brown hue and the lovely layer of soft foam that features plenty of appealing lacing. With a malt-forward taste, hints of biscuit and caramel, a pleasant hop character and a touch of spiciness, Festeroo warms the belly and the soul during those short days and long winter nights.
Great seasonal craft beer happens all year long. The next time the wind is howling and the rain or snow is blowing, pour yourself a Festeroo Winter Ale, get comfy by the fire and celebrate the special treats of a special season.
Watch the Festeroo Winter Ale bottling video: