Don’t let winter get you down…

…get down with winter beer.  The Summit Winter Ale is a darker beer that can be enjoyed by those whose palates are more accustomed to enjoying lighter offerings.  The subtle coffee and caramel/chocolatey floavor is what I like most about this beer.  You can definitely have more than a few without feeling overly full, in contrast to what a lot of people generally think drinking dark beer will do for the stomache.  Compared to Sam’s Winter or Schell’s Snowstorm, I would definitely take Summit over either of these any day. 


I didn’t really like this beer.  It was just kind of boring.  Nothing stood out to say have more.  I just kept thinking why am I drinking all these calories when its really not very good, I should just stop, but yet I didn’t.  I’ll leave the rest in the fridge for my husband to drink.

Lots of it

This beer was the house beverage for our holiday ugly sweater party.  Well, for me, at least.  I bought a lot and everyone else brought their own.  I still haven’t finished them.  No worries, it’s a good, bold winter ale and it’s still unbelievably cold outside.   

Dark and Delicious

OK, I’ve written my review three times, and still can’t seem to figure out the damn website.

 I enjoyed the Summit Winter Ale. Good coffee flavor, nice and dark. Not a drink all night kind of beer, but definitely enjoyable on a cool winter night. I’ll be keeping it my repertoire.

There are times when I don’t like to think and drink

Thanks to Summit Winter, I don’t have to. It’s perfect for the season. I would give it 5 stars, but I need to reserve a .5 in case we get to the Oatmeal Stout.

On a side note, (which should probably be my main note since it’s longer than my review) I went to Memory Lanes last week and asked for one on tap. To my shock, they had already changed out their seasonal to Maibock. Beer isn’t fashion – I don’t need the spring styles in winter. As much as I hate it, winter lasts through March 21. I want my Summit Winter on tap through then and don’t want to see Maibock until Mai.

raisinets anyone?

One sip will tell you that this is surely a winter beer with all the raisin flavor you could ask for. Really though, I don’t want any of that raisin in my beer. It is about this time that I start getting really sick of winter and maybe my seasonal discontent shows a bitter reflection upon my beer palate. Yet what I really need is a tall cold dark hoppy beer to end a hot summer day. Love ya Summit but better luck next winter.


Finally, a beer I enjoy and can give more than 3 stars. I would definitely buy this one again. I love the hints of caramel although I got a taste that I would describe as toffee. It’s not too heavy or bitter and has a pleasant aftertaste. I’m finishing the last sips right now and wish I had a few more on hand!

Wait, did I grab the EPA?

Not because of the taste, this definitely tastes different, and I really liked it. But when I was at the liquor store I had to double check to make sure it was the Winter and not the EPA. They just look so similar. From a brand perspective it’s important to have consistency across beers, but I’d like to see a bit more uniqueness. Continue reading Wait, did I grab the EPA?

A staple

Every year I look forward to the arrival of Summit Winter, enjoy it for the season and am ready to move on by the end.  When the beer hits the palate, the roasted sweetness (especially after warming up a bit) stands out.  Chocolate, caramel and coffee come to mind immediately.  While others seems to have found this “flat”, I think a good winter ale should have minimal carbonation to enhance the warming affects (perhaps just psychologically) and sweetness.  By then end of one though, I feel like I just at a King Size Snickers and need something a bit drier.

Bottom line, as I tend to get sick of winter, I get sick of Winter.

Summit Winter, grow some balls.

I’m tired of waiting for you to “wow” me. All you do is hang back; non-committal and neutral about this relationship we’ve built. The most you’ve ever done to rock me back is leave a hint here and there that you could be something great. But then you don’t follow-through…and I’m tired of hanging around for you, Summit Winter. If you asked me out now, I might say yes – if everyone else I knew was busy that night, of course – but I’m not gonna get all dressed up for you or anything.

Seasonal for a Reason

It’s not that all Summit products taste *exactly the same*, but the brand does have a signature taste. I’m a regular EPA drinker, so this beer just reminds me of what I’m used to drinking, but leaves me wanting for more bitterness. I’ll take a malty beer now and then — I mean, I liked the Gluek for what it was worth — but generally, I like some bite.

There’s nothing wrong with Summit Winter, but as far as the Summit products go, well, I’ll stick to the traditionals.

Getting warmer…

Dark, malty, roasty. Hints of chocolate, coffee. Smooth and creamy and full of flavor. This hangs heavy on the tongue which could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Right now I’m really enjoying it. This beer especially shines as a cask-conditioned beer. I enjoyed some in December at the Groveland Tap… I believe it was dry-hopped with fuggles hops. Very smooth, very complex and extremely tasty.

pools nicely …

i knew exactly what to expect when i drank this, as summit has a signature-something that makes me wince. while the underlying summit signature was there, it had a blase factor that i appreciated. it pools nicely on the center of your tongue instead of getting wonky with your perimeter buds like their pale ale.  it’s really not an offensive beer at all and seems like it would taste good with chili.

just another winter beer

I feel bad. Last winter I was all about the winter ales, I loved the Sam Adams Winter, Summit Winter, and Red Hook Winter Hook.  This year, though, I don’t like them at all, its as if I’ve regressed as a beer drinker.

Most winter beers that I drink now have too much spice and raisin taste to them, and this weeks Summit is just that. Too much raisin and spice and not enough bitter hop taste.

I should probably be rating this beer based on the fact that its trying to taste like a winter ale, and not Surly’s Furious. In that regard, I do give this beer high marks. The taste is not overpowering and the aroma is subtle enough to make me keep smelling (ask Erin if you don’t believe me).

That, and I just have nothing but love for Summit (how can you not??).

I’m ready for spring

but not because of this beer, just this cold spell.  I think the best pint of this I’ve had this year was at Stub and Herb’s when they had it on cask one night.   Ya just can’t beat cask beer.  Not to mention that Stubs, now that it is under new ownership, has quite the beer line-up.  Check em out if you are in the area.

I was over at the Groveland Tap (another great Minnesota beer bar) for a friend’s birthday and had all the intentions of getting a pint of Winter but when I stepped to the bar I just couldn’t pull the trigger as I knew that the Tapper would also have Oatmeal Stout on tap 🙂

So I guess that’s where it ranks for me.  It’s a good beer but not the best that is coming out of Summit.


Two words; Chewy.

Yeah, yeah, that’s only one word. I know. Get off my ass already. I’m not that bright.

I’m not one to discuss stuff like “head retention”, or something technical, like “flavor”, but I’m going to break tradition and get all technical on your asses by saying this; this beer makes me all sleepy and stuff.

One hell-of-a nightcap. Yum.

I’m Having Trouble With Winter

I really enjoyed this beer.  It’s very drinkable, it’s very tasty.  It went down quickly and smoothly last night, as I enjoyed some delicious hot and sour soup.  But I’m having a hard time reviewing it, because I can’t think of much to say about it. I guess I should just say, I like it.  I don’t love it.  But I’d drink it again. 

Not a favorite

Not really a big fan of this one…I think it is just the style I really don’t like. There are a lot of good flavors, but the whole mix together…just really not that crazy about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horrible beer by any measure. Reading some of the other comments on this beer I guess I have to agree with CJ Camp, this beer is nothing to get up about. The good thing is that the Great Summit Brewing Co has plenty of other quality beers for me to enjoy!

Winter at it’s best

Summit Winter has a strong look (a very dark brew), a strong smell (heavy malts, caramel and hops) and a strong taste (thick and a little flat). As I write this review it’s 3 below outside and somehow that make this beer more enjoyable. As a newcomer to the “winter” genre of beers I feel like this Summit must be a good example to judge other “winters” by, but I invite the more experienced members to suggest other worthy contenders.

I don’t know what it is…

I just can’t get excited about this beer, which is too bad, because if I read its description somewhere, I’d tell myself that I ought to get some immediately.

I’ve been drinking this all winter, both at Tracy’s and at home. On my most recent pour at home, I managed about a finger of head. Lovely reddish-brown color. Smells like someone put roasted malt in there!

And then…

I don’t know. It just kind of tastes like a basic dark beer. Thin-to-medium body. It’s got decent malt-to-hops balance, with the roast flavor coming on fairly strong midway through and a mild, hoppy finish. It tastes like a light porter.

I like it. I drink it. I just can’t get excited about it.

Subtle Perfection

A couple years ago I stopped drinking Summit Winter. Well, not completely. I would have one or two each year, and then hang it up. “This is just a brown ale,” I would decry. My friends and I would swear that Summit Winter used to be a spiced up porter, full of ambition and hope, and that a couple years ago they went soft

But now I’m not so sure. (Was it me? Did they change the recipe?)

I can’t get enough of this years’ brew.

Maybe it’s my palate, or maybe it was the Summit Winter on cask I had right before Christmas, smooth and creamy, reinvigorating my belief in Summit. That happens every so often; I get bored and worn down on Summit, and then I have a particularly fine pint of EPA, or try a limited release stout with brettomyces, and it’s like falling in love all over again. 

This year’s Winter is like that. It pours a creamy mahogany, exactly what I want on a cold night. I’m thrilled by it’s subtle perfection, and even more thrilled that it’s Summit that brought it to me.

Could I get some waffles with this syrup?

I have been drinking this stuff every winter since ’96. Yet unfortunately I think this tradition will have to soon be coming to an end. I am not sure if Summit has simply gotten too macro with their microbrews, but the delicate black delight of yesteryear has simply gotten too god damned thick. I used to easily consume quite a few of these in one sitting but I nearly exploded after just two (yeah I know I am kind of a weenie).  Is it that my tastes have simply changed? Maybe but all I know is that next winter I will look at forward to the next man’s beer as opposed to this one.

Summit Safe

This is a decent beer for those that are new to quality beer and want to start discovering their beer pallet.  This is a light winter beer with a pleasing coffee flavor.  I had this beer both on tap and in the bottle.  To me the bottle was as Aaron put it flat, however the tap was a bit livelier but not by too much.  I was still left wanting something a bit more after this brew.   This seems to be another safe brew by Summit that bridges the gap between Macro and Micro brewery.

A winter ale to beat.

Fantastic beer.  This is exactly what I expect from a big brewer though: perfect carbonation, great flavor, still fairly light on the palette and a great, no SUPERB aftertaste; very nutty aftertaste.  This reminds me a lot of nut ales, like Newcastle, Nut Brown ale, Samuel Smith and then there’s a slight taste of a pumpkin beer almost with the spiciness.

Not quite filling enough for my personal tastes, but I predict this to be the highest ranker on brew52 to date.  Boo for twist-off bottles.  They can’t be reused for homebrew 🙁

Mal Hiver

I had a few of these one evening recently and it’s not how I remembered it when I first tried it. Summit Winter tasted a bit flat and honestly, it was like not much was there. A bit too smooth for my taste without much flavor to it. Boring.