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Autumnal Fire

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Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI
USA
http://www.capital-brewery.com/

Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.26%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)


Comments:
Ah, yes—January in Wisconsin. The lakes are frozen, the snow is piling up, the snowmobile trails and ski hills are packed with people, and Capital’s Winter Skål, Sprecher’s Winter Brew, New Glarus’ Coffee Stout and Road Slush, and Leinie’s Big Butt dominate the store shelves. If God was down with blaze orange coats and snowmobile suits, Wisconsin would be heaven from November through March. But … wait a minute … wake up Nigel, this is 2007! Global warming is in full effect, and here in Nigel’s adopted homeland it’s 50 degrees on January 5. That's right, it’s 50. It’s normally 20 (or lower—much, much lower). The lakes are wide open, there is no snow anywhere to be found, and the freakin’ grass is turning green! Thank you very much Texas Governor George W. Bush. Us Midwesterners may have dreamed of a white Christmas, but instead we were forced to deal with a Seattle Christmas. In Nigel’s actual homeland this is quite normal, as in England we have only two seasons every year—really foggy and not quite as foggy. But there are two reasons Nigel moved to the Midwest: good beer and good weather (OK, good when compared to the motherland), and apparently the latter is determined to spite me. That having been said, let it be known that I have found one good thing to come out of this frightening display of global climate change: Capital’s Autumnal Fire, apparently confused by the October-like weather, is back on store shelves at Nigel’s local fine spirits retailer, and I’m as giddy as Queen Elizabeth I was after hearing that the idiots in the Spanish Armada sailed directly into a violent North Sea storm.

First of all, let me state that this review is for Autumnal Fire from a bottle. I’ve had this brew a few times on tap at a local pub, as well as with Eddie in a strange foreign land, and I would unquestionably give it 5 mugs in that form. It’s a damn fine tap beer, but its brilliance is not captured in full effect when bottled. The beer pours beautifully—a rich dark amber color, very much living up to its name. A light colored head quickly dissipates—something that differs somewhat from the tap version, where the head lingers for a bit. The smell is fantastic, with a sugary caramel aroma balanced well with dark Munich malt—a definite harbinger of what’s to come. The taste is, well, it’s a doppelbock at its finest. It is somewhat complex, with dark roasted malt, caramel, and molasses coating the tongue, making for a thick but not overwhelming brew. A variety of other flavors pleasure you throughout the sip—a tad bit of light fruitiness, a mild hop tinge (Nigel loves that), and a soothing aftertaste that lingers long enough to help you remember that fine brew you just indulged in, but not long enough to ruin your next meal. So while global warming may lead to catastrophic weather events, the extinction of many fine species, and the end of life on earth as we know it, we should all take consolation in knowing that Nigel was able to enjoy a few nips of Capital’s Autumnal Fire in the dead of what should be winter. Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on January 6, 2007.
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