There is a tendency for breweries to come forth and create winter warmers or other spiced beers in the last quarter of the year to capitalize on the holiday season. As a result the shelves get stocked with a variety of beers that are roughly the same, meaning that they will be very strongly spiced, malt heavy and full of dark fruit flavors. Pike Brewing (Seattle, WA) has decided to buck this trend and create a wholly unique holiday ale with their Auld Acquaintance. Essentially what one will experience here is a linkage between India Pale Ales, white ale and smaller bits of the winter warmer style. To be absolutely honest the initial sip of Auld Acquaintance was a little on the confusing side with so many distinct flavors hitting my tongue. A strong hop presence as well as citrus elements and the broadness of malts all played for dominance after I cracked the bottle. The beer settles down nicely after a minute or two, creating an order to an incredibly complex beer.
Strong floral elements contributed by the hop work in tandem with the inclusion of citrus. A wheatiness weaves its way through Auld Acquaintance, hammering home the eclectic styles present here. The alcohol hides here creating something that is easily drinkable and is brought to an ABV that makes finishing a 22 ounce bottle a first step on completing a wonderful night. As this Pike effort continues to warm the overall array of notes that are present starts to shift, meaning that the overall demeanor of Auld Acquaintance is much more focused on the malt and the sweet in the last third of the beer. This subtle shift is something that keeps things interesting as one looks to put the finishing touches on this effort.
Auld Acquaintance is available for a limited time and can be located at any local beer store that stocks Pike Brewing efforts. The Pike website will provide readers with all of the information that they could conceivably require about this beer and the rest of the company’s offerings. Give their social media a spin for a look into this storied company and take a look at our coverage of Pike Stout.