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Oliver Winter’s Wolves
Where in Town: Lost and Found, 1240 9th St. NW
Price: $5/16 oz.
What do heavy, racing guitars and a driving drumbeat taste like? Oliver Breweries’ head brewer Stephen Jones has considered that question in depth. Working for 10 hours at a stretch in the basement of Baltimore’s Pratt Street Ale House, he passes the time to a soundtrack of beloved bands. For years, Jones has served up a series of beers named for, and inspired by, his favorite tracks. One, Winter’s Wolves—named for a song off Austin-based metal band The Sword’s 2006 album Age of Winters—began as a one-off experiment. But when the band’s manager discovered the beer via social media, he called Jones up and offered to officially license it.
When asked to describe Winter’s Wolves, Jones calls on imagery from the song’s lyrics: “A Viking warrior crossing a bloody battlefield, surrounded by wolves lifting the life from the throats of his enemies.” Tasty! More literally, this strong dark ale features a lengthy malt bill, including pale, roasted, chocolate, and smoked barley, among others, and four kinds of hops. Additional complexity comes from the honey and heather tips Jones adds to the boil before conditioning the beer with toasted American oak. The result is a rich, 7.4 percent-alcohol brew with a dry, hoppy finish. Despite its heavy metal heritage, I find Winter’s Wolves suitable for sipping, not slamming. Looking for some? It will be easier to find soon. The brewery is undergoing a massive expansion that will quadruple its production and make Oliver kegs, casks, and soon cans widely available throughout Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.
Photo by Tammy Tuck