I recently went to Relic Brewing for the express purpose of trying the Hiver, a winter ale, that brewer/owner Mark Sigman had concocted for the season.
Of course I wasn't opposed to sample the rest of the malty beerific flowing from the taps.
Despite the fact that the brewery was fairly busy with a decent crowd of folks sampling and whatnot, Mark to the time to explain what he was pouring describing each brew's attributes and characteristics.
pours a hazy caramel color. The aroma is sweet, malty with notes of banana and clove. The taste is spicy, malty and has notes of bubblegum and banana. This is a style I've really come to appreciate and this is a tasty rendition. The mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Overall: very goodQueen of Pentacles (Tarot Series #4) Dark Saison (9% ABV)
pours a dark copper color. The aroma is amazing; rich smells of dried fruits dominate. The taste is somewhat lighter than the aroma. Dried fruits overlay a malty backbone. This brew is mostly sweet and somewhat tart. The alcohol can be felt as a pleasant warmth. The mouth feel is medium with good carbonation. Overall: good.
Shipwright British IPA (8.6% ABV)
pours a cloudy honey gold color. The aroma is heavily malty with a good dose of hops. The taste delivers with the nose promises. This is, indeed, a big malty brew with loads of bitter hops to vie for your tastebud's attention. The mouth feel leans towards full with lots of effervescence to lighten it up. Overall: Good.
Those were all good, but what I came for was the winter ale. I wasn't disappointed. It was, by far, the best offering I tried. Mark really put his best foot forward when he developed this brew. This may be the best Relic beer I've had, thus far. Hiver (pronounced hee vehr) is French for Winter. The brew is a French Style Spelt Saison.
Hiver Winter Ale (9% ABV)
pours a clear bright sunshine gold. The aroma is reminiscent of a chardonnay wine with yeasty undertones. The taste was gently sweet with tart citrus notes along with a mild woodsy hoppiness to balance out the flavors. There is a lovely wine-like quality that can be smelled more than it is tasted on the back of the palate that creates a wonderful, complex tasting experience. This is a beer that can be enjoyed by both beer and wine lovers alike. The finish crisp and clean. The mouth feel is smooth and creamy. This is a lovely, drinkable brew. Overall: very good!I went home with a bottle of Hiver, and a lovely Relic glass. Oh, and happy! I definitely left happy.