A tropical winter. A riddle? Oxymoron?
BiFrost by the Elysian Brewing Company
Elysian's BiFrost pours a tropical orange, though mostly opaque, with a smell to match. Strongly citrus in scent, mostly orange, with a hint of lemon. The aroma is quite pleasing.
Little to no head develops, although the pour was less than vigorous.
Spotty inconsistent lacing.
BiFrost is a delicious beer suffering from an identity crisis.
Winter beers, typically, are only common by the warming alcohol sensation they share. While boozy, BiFrost is more bold IPA than winter beer.
While BiFrost's alcohol is hardly disguised and indeed provides warmth, it doesn't intimidate. Here, BiFrost works, achieving just the level of satisfaction needed to please on a chilly, gusty late afternoon.
While complexity is admirable, BiFrost ranges into perplexity.
In labeling, name, and warming sensation, its a winter beer. But BiFrost's most significant aspect is a big citrus wallop that leaves one mindful of something tropical.
Ultimately, this beer is as confusing as frost on a palm tree.
...to the details:
BiFrost's mouthfeel is quite chewy. It's not thick like a stout, but a mouthful, ending with slight tingling. That's matched by the alcohol warmth that follows. And persists as it travels down.
Hops spice the tip of the tongue, and then it immediately becomes big, orangey, and boozy across the palate. Orange is quickly overwhelmed by tangerine, the most significant flavor of BiFrost's profile. The finish is surprisingly velvety, maybe even providing a very slight, chocolate hint.
So, call this a winter beer if you'd like, so long as a bold IPA can be categorized as such. But if this is a winter beer than why not Stone's 16th Anniversary, which BiFrost is at least somewhat similar?
BiFrost tastes good. And is far from the only pale-hued winter beer. However, others, such as Celebration (Sierra Nevada) and Hibernation (Great Divide) simply provide that "something" seasonal, a uniqueness, that BiFrost lacks.
All things considered, BiFrost is simply an average beer. Thus, 2.5 stars (out of five). TheCraftBeerGuru.com offers it a very mild recommendation based on its generally pleasing taste. But, on a cold day, stick first to the winter beers named above, or a rich Imperial Stout.