Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Winter Skål

Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI

Style: Vienna

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Greetings Beer Dorks, Nigel here with another review to tantalize and titilate. I wasn't planning on reviewing until the weekend, but Nigel senses a cold coming on and I got a feeling I may be taking a break from drinking craft beer coming up real soon here. I know many of you are probably thinking like my Mum right now, saying "Nigel, you should be drinking orange juice instead of beer if you think you're getting sick". Well, sucks to that. This is, not (another type of website altogether), so, in true Beer Dork fashion, I will fight off my advancing cold with some craft beer (after all, beer is loaded with all sorts of vitamins).

Before I get to my review for Capital's Winter Skal, let me take a moment to empty the ol' mailbag. You see, Nigel literally gets hundreds and hundreds of e-mails (if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Iowa to sell you) of all sorts, and while he'd love to reply to each and every one personally, the e-mail server sucks llama balls (ahem, Eddie). Thus, I will totally abuse the space provided here that is supposed to be used only to review beer. If you don't see another Nigel review, you'll know the boss has grown tired of my renegade ways and revoked my Beer Dorkship.

The first e-mail comes from our copy editor here at "Nigel, your complete lack of writing ability and your total disregard for the English language makes me sick. I'm tired of staying up until the wee hours of the morning editing your reviews. Please learn at least some basic grammar rules. You are a disgrace- I wish you were never added to this site, much less ever born." Wow- that's harsh. Well, lil' miss editor, please remember that Nigel went to a public state university where we didn't have all those fancy classes like "English" and "Math", which I'm sure you had at Ivy League State. Please forgive me, and thank God we're not related.

This one's from Phil in Sioux Falls, South Dakota: "Nigel, I like you're wacky take on drinking beer. However, I can't help but notice that I haven't heard of any of the beers on your website. Do you think you could ever do a fun review for Budweiser?" You've gotta be kidding me. Do us all a favor and move to France, you commie pinko bastard.

The next one comes from fellow Beer Dork Jill: "Nigel, if you ever review another fruit beer, I will chop of your genitals and feed them to the wolves, then dunk your head in a bathtub full of pirhana. Also, your peace offering tasted like four day old urine. You are British trash. Please do us all a favor and die." Well, Nigel is scared to death of Jill, so he will simply reply by saying, "yes, ma'am". By the way, it sounds like you and our editor are in cahoots.

Here's one from a reader in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in response to a recent article I wrote: "Nigel, much appreciated site. Sounds like you live in my town, or possibly Sheboygan or Oshkosh. Keep fighting the good fight." First of all, many thanks for the kind words, and its good to know we actually have real viewers out there, besides my parents, who don't drink and have no idea what the hell I'm writing about. Nigel doesn't live in Green Bay, but he has been there- twice actually- and is not surprised to hear it is a town full of shit beer. As for Oshkosh or Sheboygan... uh... no comment on the first one. As some of you may know, Nigel lives in a magical place called "Nigeland", which I have referred to in past reviews. It's located in the same state as Springfield is on "The Simpsons", though "Duff" has unfortunately been replaced by "Bud".

This one's from Sara in Murfreesboro, Tennessee: "Nigel, what are your thoughts on Britney Spears' new look?" Well Sara, I write about beer, so I'd have to say I'm a bit puzzled by your inquiry. That having been said, my thoughts are that if you're a dirty trailer park skank, it doesn't matter if your blonde or bald- you're still a dirty trailer park skank. So, kudos to Britney. Let's just hope she doesn't eat her children.

Finally, this from an ananymous e-mailer: "Discounted Viagra, discounted Cialis, get some today!" First of all, what are you inferring? Second of all, F--K YOU SPAMMERS!!!

Now that we've caught up a bit with the mail, on to the reivew.

Capital's Winter Skal (pronounced "Skoal" for all of you non-Scandinavian Beer Dorks) is an interesting beer from a top Midwestern brewery. I honestly would have a hard time putting it in to a specific category, as it is a unique flavor that incorporates a number of styles. But "the man" says everything must be categorized, so lets just thow it into the Amber/Red category for the hell of it (Vienna-style Lager is another possibility). The beer pours a dark golden brown color- not totally typical of an Amber/Red, but more like a Marzen or dark Pale Ale. There is very little head, and virtually no bubbles while in the glass- one of the flatter brews out there. The smell is fairly mild, but again- Nigel is getting a little stuffy, so that may not be an accurate assesment. The dominant aroma is roasted malt, with a tinge of hoppiness. The taste is solid, though not spectacular. Malt dominates, but not a dark malt- a light roasted, semi-sweet malt, heavy on the caramel, with a tinge of nutiness. Hop additions make for a nice bitterness to counterbalance the sweetness, but the hops are certainly second fiddle to the malt here. It's a medium-bodied brew with a sweet taste, light carbonation, and a detectable hint of alcohol, despite the relatively low abv (5.4%). The aftertaste is farily mild, and while I would not consider this to be a session brew, I'm sure many people would disagree. I'm guessing that this would be a much, MUCH better beer on tap than out of the bottle. This is Capital's winter seasonal, and it seems like an odd choice to me, as it is a fairly light beer (by winter standards), with a low abv. It lacks that "warming" feeling that most craft brewers try to capture with their winter offerings. Frankly, in Nigel's humble opinion, Capital's autumn seasonal, Autumnal Fire, and Winter Skal should switch places on the seasonal calendar. But hey- nobody asked me. All in all, a good beer but nothing too spectacular, and certainly something that should be left alone if your trying to warm up on a cold Midwestern night. Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on February 28, 2007.
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