Time to start working through the last winter seasonal, so today finds me opening another 22oz. bottle from Portland, Oregon’s Bridgeport Brewery’s Big Brews series; Bridgeport Big Brews Nightcap Winter Ale. Bridgeport Nightcap Winter Ale, consisting of 67% winter ale and 33% bourbon-barrel conditioned winter ale, is presumably a boutique take on their Ebenezer holiday ale.
Bridgeport Nightcap Winter Ale poured a slightly hazy, bottle brown with medium effervescence and topped with a yellow and tan lumpy head. The nose was dominated by herbaceous hops and undertones of bourbon and vanilla.
Bridgeport Nightcap Winter Ale has a big, fizzy front, surprisingly thin in body but carrying a mild floral hop start. The base of the ale was still light, with competing background notes of coffee, smoke, a tongue-gripping oak vanillin, and an aftertaste of bourbon fading to dryness.
Unlike the Widmer Bros’ Brrrbon Winter Ale, which was enjoyable but leaned heavily on the bourbon barrel to carry the flavor, Bridgeport chose to respect the ale from which the brew started and use the barrel aging to compliment it with the Nightcap Winter Ale.