Feb 5, 2016

AleWerks Brewing Marley’s Lament

I understand that there are certain spices that are seasonally appropriate for the cold weather months. I get it — I do. That, however, doesn’t mean that you need to throw all of them in the brew kettle when crafting your winter warmer. There’s something to be said for subtlety. Let the beer do the speaking. The spice blend should amplify or compliment what the malt bill, or even hop blend, are saying — not overwhelm the message. I don’t want to drink liquid potpourri.

AleWerks Brewing Marley’s Lament is a 7.3% ABV Winter Warmer that has its heart in the right place in bringing those spices suited for the holidays to my mouth. Unfortunately, the company’s blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, honey, vanilla, and orange peel is just too heavy handed. So much so that my tongue had a tingling numbness after each sip.

Now, this isn’t just a knock on the Williamsburg, VA brewery — they aren’t the only guilty party. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a great number of their beers throughout the years. In fact, I’ll be loading up on Bitter Valentine later today. This particular product just happened to be a tipping point I suppose. I’m all for brewers trying to deliver a flavor profile that suits the season or occasion, but there’s a lot to be said for restraint when pouring in those adjunct ingredients.

Much like the beer industry attempts to save their butts by preaching moderation, so too must they learn the same when crafting their production. A little can go a long way.