Capital Brewery Winter Skål
A seemingly unusual choice for a winter seasonal, Winter Skal comes to us from Capital Brewery located in Middleton, WI, less than 10 miles from Madison. True to Wisconsin’s Germanic roots, Capital is first and foremost a lager brewery. Their Brewmaster, Kirby Nelson, expresses his frustration at customers that come in looking for an IPA or a hop-bomb, and a quick look at their line-up reveals why. Though they do feature a couple of ales in their line-up, they offer mostly lagers, including 6 or 7 doppelbocks.
As is evidenced by the many other winter seasonals available, many breweries stick to the “Winter Warmer” theme and brew big and boozy beers for the holidays, usually with a handful of spices thrown in for good measure. Rather than choosing to brew another strong lager, Capital created Winter Skal, an easy drinking amber lager. Winter Skal is malt forward with notes of caramel, toasted biscuits, sweet cereal and butter toffee. The brew also features spicy Liberty hops which lend a pleasant floral-woody character to the finish. Kirby chuckles when asked what spices he used to brew this beer-there’s nothing but the four traditional ingredients (malt, hops, yeast, and water) here, and what most people interpret to be spices is in fact the Liberty hops.
Although it’s nothing to write home about, Winter Skal is a solid, easy-drinking lager and a nice change-up from the heavier beers of the season. Skal, which is Scandinavian for “Cheers”, embodies the spirit of this beer-which seems to be made for drinking in quantity with good company.
- Pat Fahey — Certified Cicerone
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