January 28, 2012

Charlottesville, VA - Starr Hill's The Gift

Every time I walk down the beer aisle I'm confronted with a dilema: Do I really have to buy beer? (Usually yes) Ok, what to get? Of course it's nearly impossible for me not to buy beer when I'm already looking at it, but sometimes I just want to try something new. So what happens if you don't like the whole six-pack? Luckily, some stores will let you break down six-packs, which makes for a less risky investment than buying the whole sixer.  So, last time I went grocery shopping, I picked up one of these.

The Gift is a winter seasonal from the Crozet, VA, brewery Starr Hill. It is a Hellerbock, a strong lager that's lighter in color than a regular bock. Fun fact: Bocks are believed to have originated in the German town of Einbeck, which sounds a lot like ein bock, German for a billy goat.  That's why you'll sometimes find a goat on the label of a bottle of bock.

Smell - In the Gift, I found a lot of sweet malt in the aroma, along with some fruity notes, but essentially no hop aroma.

Appearance - The color is a light amber and the beer was very clear. The white head faded pretty quickly.

Taste - The taste echoes the aroma: lots of sweet, fruity malt, almost no hops. There is a tiny bit of hop bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - The Gift is medium-bodied and with a somewhat frothy mouthfeel. Due to the relatively high alcohol content (6.5%), it provides a warming sensation, which is nice in the cold weather.

Overall - Starr Hill nails this style right on the head. The Gift actually reminds me a bit of Bass, because there was some definite fruitiness going on. Personally I prefer dark lager, but hey -- try it for yourself!

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