This year, I resolve to broaden my search for review-worthy beers. I'll be striving to bring more regional beer reviews from outside of Bend. To start the new year and the beginning of winter, I took a trip to Three Creeks Brewing. I hadn't been to the brewery in probably three or four years, and it still looked the same. It feels like you're walking into a country western scene, but it's cleaner! Just as I remembered, the service was excellent, and the beer selection was great, too.
- Heidi Howard
- Chill Axe Winter Warmer at Three Creeks Brewing
I ordered the Chill Axe winter warmer with my meal. Before taking the first sip, I captured a whiff of sweet, warm and malty aromas. On the tongue were rich and lightly spiced flavors. Winter warmers tend to bring in spices like coriander, aniseed and various herbs. Many winter-warmer beers will punch you straight in the mouth with these flavors, but Chill Axe is subtle, and I can really appreciate that. There's a hint of the spice blend and it's fantastic and balances out the sweet maltiness of this beer—exactly what the spices are intended to do in a winter warmer. As the beer warms, the spices come forward a bit more, making the spiciness slightly more evident in both the aroma and flavor.
Chill Axe has an ABV of 6.8% which makes for easy drinking, but still gives just enough warmth in your cheeks to enjoy on a cold and blustery day. By contrast, many of our regional winter warmers will hit higher ABVs of 8.5% and up. The higher carbonation in this beer adds a bit of brightness, further cutting through the rich and sweet maltiness. Don't get me wrong, Chill Axe is still sweet, but the level of sweetness as it relates to a winter-warmer style is on the lower side. For me, that's what I like, and I believe that it also helps bring it a high score on my drinkability scale. I give Chill Axe from Three Creeks Brewing a 4.5 because of its moderate ABV, subtleness of spices and lack of cloying sweetness.
I would take a friend out to drink this beer if they told me they don't usually like winter warmers, or if they had never had a winter warmer before. Chill Axe would be a great gateway beer for a newbie craft beer drinker to taste. We would sit by the fire at Three Creeks Brewing, and maybe play a game of pool. If they decide they didn't like Chill Axe, that's cool, because Three Creeks has a really great variety of beers available. Happy New, Year everybody, and cheers to broadening those horizons!
Three Creeks Brewing
721 S Desperado Ct., Sisters