(Note: This beer was consumed and written about in the winter of 2011/2012, but is only being posted now. As of this posting, it's unclear if this beer will come out again in winter 2012/2013.)
Ahhh, yes, Allies Win The War. This winter beer is a collaboration between 21st Amendment brewery and Ninkasi Brewing Co. It's an English strong ale brewed with dates
The beer smells like winter spices, with sweet malts and minor but noticeable European hopping. The taste is ... interesting. There is some up front bitterness, but not nearly at IPA levels, with traces of dark fruit on the end. Not overly sweet; the hops balance that out. All that said, the dominant taste is spicing. LOTS of spicing. Winter spices hit you up front so that it takes a few sips to get used to them. A bit malty and thick, but tasty. And spicy. Not hot spicy, just ... yo, really? Did you need to go this nuts with the spicing?
And yet beyond all imagining it tastes fairly decent once you get used to it, almost like how Dr Pepper would taste if it was beer. The big ABV sneaks up on you. This beer masks the 8.5% well. Overall this is a good but not great winter beer. Try it, but know what you're getting into, 'cause this one ain't for everybody.