Big Chill Winter Warmer

Big Chill Winter Warmer
1 12 oz bottle, $6.50, 9.5% ABV

Purchased at SBC Brewpub, Milford

chillI don’t understand Southport Brewing Company. Like, why bother? They currently have 4 locations (Fairfield, Branford, Stamford and Milford) having closed the one in Hamden. I think they actually had six at one point. They brew at all but the Milford location. Of course, I’ve only been to the Milford location which means the only SBC beers available there are the three they bottle.

This is due to some state law that I don’t feel like finding, but it essentially says, “brewpubs can only sell the beer(s) they brew on-site in that site.” So while SBC may brew some decent stuff at their non-Milford locations, Milford can’t sell it. It has to do with licensing and labeling and stuff like that.

Normally I wouldn’t care, except I’m running into this issue in my ‘hood with City Steam Brewery. City Steam brews some really good beer in their Hartford brewpub, which is great and all but… But they are opening an offshoot restaurant 2 minutes from my house that can only sell the City Steam beers they contract brew at Two Roads. And if I were to judge all of City Steam by their bottled efforts, I’d have a low opinion of City Steam.

And that stinks.

Like I said, SBC contract bottles three beers at the moment and if I were to judge their brewing skills on those three then, well, let’s just say SBC could stand for Sucky Beer Crap. Okay, that’s mean. How about “Super Boring Contractbrews.” Yeah, that’s better.

I just don’t know why they bother, honestly. The stuff in bottles is just… so lame. This Big Chill Winter Warmer promised better things, so I was hoping it would temper some of my negative opinions.

Southport Brewing Company says:

“beer with deep copper cherry wood color. dry-yet-fruity, medium body with a tangy, caramelized nut finish. A nice food beer.”

Kevin Costner-PicsOkay. I was eating food. My son Damian and I stopped by SBC to have lunch and kill time before I could go get some world class beer up the road at New England Brewing’s new spot.

My food was overcooked and all-around blah, but whatever. I’m not a food reviewer and for his part, Damian ate a crap-ton of food there. He loved it. He even ate his broccoli.

I’m sure some of you remember the movie “The Big Chill.” It’s a 1983 American comedy-drama with all sorts of stars: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams. It is about a group of baby boomer college friends who reunite briefly after 15 years due to the suicide of a friend.

It’s a good movie, as far as those types of movies go. But it’s missing something: Kevin Costner was cast as the dead character Alex, but all scenes showing his face were cut.

Which brings me to this beer: It’s definitely missing something. And that something is arguably the star of the show. For an over 9% beer, it’s amazingly boring. Malty and… malty and… Um, wet? I got none of the promised nuttiness, let alone any tangy fruits. Come on now.

Hooker makes this stuff for SBC and of all the contracts Hooker brews, I bet if I got owner Kurt drunk one night he’d admit the SBC beers are his least favorite. Oh wait, they do Stony Brook too… that’s a tough one.

One of these days, I’ll get to one of the locations that actually brews in order to try some of their in-house offerings. I really hope they are better than these bottles have been.

Asking for more Kevin Costner is hardly asking for much.

Overall Rating: D
Rating vs. Similar style: D-

Southport Brewing Company
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