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Blue Point Winter Ale
The Winter Ale from Long Island's Blue Point Brewing is technically an Amber Ale, for whatever that's worth. And it does pour a very dark amber, with flashes of brilliant red when held up to light and a finger's worth of khaki-colored head. The smell is nice and sweet, with a touch of spice—possibly from the Vienna malts, which are also used in many Oktoberfests. The spiciness comes out even more in the taste, but is offset just enough by hints of caramel, toffee and a gentle, lingering bitterness. If I there's a complaint to be made, it's that it could be a bit more carbonated, but still: it's a really good, warming winter beer that's surprisingly complex and, at 7% ABV, sufficiently hearty.