Every winter I get excited to see the seasonal beers on the shelves. Mostly because they are packaged so festively with holly and snow flakes and such that they make great gifts–you don’t have to wrap them, and if the recipient is a true friend you get to partake in the enjoyment (it’s better to give and receive).
For the past three years or so I have searched for, but not been able to find, Pete’s Wicked Winter Brew. For some freaky reason that I have never been able to qualify, I like certain raspberry flavored beers. But try finding this seasonal Texas beer in New York. A trip to peteswicked.com only offered this answer: “Winter Brew was produced in limited quantities this year, however not all wholesalers carry the entire Pete’s Wicked portfolio of beers. Therefore, some of the Pete’s beers may not be available in select areas of the country.” I guess New York wasn’t selected.
However, as hard as it may be to find a skier in a snowstorm, I found a six-pack of Winter Brew in a store recently and snatched it up to see if it was as good as I remembered… raspberries, nutmegs and all.
When I poured it into my Pete’s Wicked pint glass (the one I borrowed from some bar many years ago) the fruity aroma jostled my memory a bit. I’d place the color in the deep amber category, but the head was disappointing. Just to be sure, I poured my second beer into a different pint glass… still the same.
The raspberry odor went right up my nose and overpowered me, the faint nutmeg odor (and taste) never had a chance. It was a bit “soda-pop” sweet to my mouth with a malty aftertaste that stuck around for quite some time after I was done.
Pete’s Wicked has undergone some changes in the past few years, and perhaps this is why this wasn’t the beer I remember. They have altered the taste of their Ale as an “ongoing effort to satisfy its consumer’s evolving tastes.” Along with this they have changed their bottles to longnecks, their caps to pry-offs, and quite possibly their nose-heavy raspberries to schnozberries.
Since everyone seems to be interested in calories and carbs nowadays, it may interest you to know that this beer comes in at 170 calories and a whopping 15.2 grams of carbs. It’s 5.2% by alcohol by volume.
Pete Slosberg (the Pete in Pete’s Wicked) went mainstream with his craft beer company in 1986 and has produced some beers that we’ve seen come and go (does anyone remember Red Rush?). I did not love, nor did I hate Pete’s Wicked Winter Brew. Had the taste not lingered in my mouth so long afterwards I could have really enjoyed this. I’m betting that if you really like the fruity stuff that you might want to try Winter Brew. If you stay away from berries in your beer normally you should look elsewhere.