I enjoy most of the beers from Samuel Adams, and I hate most of the stories of Charles Dickens. So what to do with Old Fezziwig?
The color is a deep brown (the description attributes caramel and chocolate malts as a reddish brown ale, but to me there wasn’t much red). There was barely any head or lacing, but to be fair, I was pouring it into a frosty mug from a slightly-cooler-than-room-temp bottle, and I don’t know if that might affect it.
The nose was… less than promising. I found it to have an aggressively spicy note that I found unpleasant. (Ann described it as “wet cardboard.”)
The taste, however, was very pleasant. It has some mild notes of ginger in it, and the richness of the brown is fairly intense. Ann and I agreed that we actually prefer it at this temperature — slightly chilled but not cold, like an English pub ale would be served. (Note: this is anecdotal — I’ve never been to England. But I kind of like the Beatles.)
I think this would pair well with most beef dishes, but I was very pleasantly surprised that it also paired well tonight with a snack of peppers, cucumbers, and homemade hummus.
Other than the unpleasant initial smell, I’d say my only complaint would be the lingering aftertaste, which is more bitter than the beer itself seemed to be. I don’t mind bitterness in beer, of course, but as an aftertaste for a beer that wasn’t overly hoppy, it’s unusual and undesired. Not that you should use this as a plan, but this can be overturned through use of cucumber-and-hummus burps.