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.
The BEST I have ever had!!! I am a lover of Micro brews and am 44 now, so I have drank some beer in my time!! Forget all this orange peel, apricot crap……..WINTER BREW was and is still the best I have had and miss it dearly!!! Why would they discontinue a product that always sells out, is in high demand, and hopefully produces well-needed revenue??? I DON’T GET IT??? Strawberry Blonde just doesn’t do it for me. I would rather do the regular ale. The Wanderlame and Rally Crap sucks too compared to Winter Brew, and I dislike anything… Read more »
This was my all time favorite winter beer. I too used to clear off the shelves when it came out. They haven’t updated their website in 7 years. I can’t find anything that officially says thaty have close or gone out of business. Anyone else know?
Rick, you crystalized my thoughts exactly. It is one of my all-time top 5 favorite beers. I, too, have been searching for it for several years now, but to no avail. I chuckled reading your post b/c I did the exact same thing…clearing the shelves of it when I would first see it in early November each year. It would disappear quickly as you described. I would buy 2-3 cases of it at a time and my liquor store would look upon me with disdain as if I was depriving numerous other customers of the same raspberry-nutmeg pleasure. I so… Read more »
I have been looking for it for about 5 years now. It is by far, the best beer I have EVER tasted. I even sent an email to Pete’s Wicked asking where the hell it has gone, with no reply. I used to clean the shelves of it when it came out because I knew it would go quickly. It has obviously been discontinued, sadly. It blew away Sam’s Winter and that’s still around! If anyone finds some, please let me know! It’s like a lost pet to me.
Hey Brian —
Pete’s Winter Brew was an Amber Ale with nutmeg and raspberry. If you do clone it successfully, please let us know — good luck!