Beers in Review: First of the North

We'll be getting to the first of the beers I had over the holiday, one from Philadelphia, shortly. But first, I have one more pre-holiday beer to review.

This one is the winter seasonal from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri, called Snow and Tell. A Scotch Ale at 6.3% ABV and 28 IBU, this ale utilizes smoked malt (more on that in a moment) and is predictably malt forward. The ale itself is a deep ruby red color and has a heavy body. It is malty (as expected) and quite sweet, with toffee and caramel notes being the most prominent, with maybe a bit of dark fruit. It's not boozy at all, which can be frequent in this style, but not surprising here, given the relatively low ABV. Rounding out the drinking experience is just a hint of smoke, which is generating a final burnt sugar note in the flavor profile.

Next up is unique style coming out of Philadelphia, PA. St. Benjamin Brewing Company--as in, Benjamin Franklin--crosses a traditionally basic cream ale with an IPA to create Inca India-style Cream Ale. Fairly sessionable and perhaps at the high end of the Cream Ale range at 5.4% ABV, this ale is pretty light and smooth overall. There are mild citrus and hops, and is really an overall mild-mannered ale; to this point, there's not much bitterness, despite a claim of 50 IBU. The finish is fairly clean and crisp, matching the citrusy hop notes from earlier. The notes are fairly basic and mild in this ale, but I found it fairly enjoyable, overall.