Review: One Great City Humbug 2 Harder and Grumpier Fruited Belgian Dark Strong Ale


For those who may not be familiar with Winnipeg traditions, the winter time Humbug sign popping up on an apartment balcony in time for Christmas is one of the most popular traditions for over forty years now. Unfortunately the building is being renovated this year so no bright red HUMBUG sign this year. One Great City Brewing decided to pay tribute to the sign (which is located a short walk from the brewery) by putting it on their roof.. turns out there was miscommunication with their landlord and the local Reddit army got a bit angry as Reddit can be sometimes. Great tribute to a popular Winnipeg tradition!

From the can: Humbug 2: Harder & Grumpier - An adapted revisiting of our first Humbug beer, this is our tongue & cheek homage to Sidney Farmer's Christmas light display that has overlooked St. James for 40 years. Although this beer comes across as dark and brooding, it's actually full of Christmas spirit. Nutty toffee, dried fruits and rich chocolate are all wrapped up in this smooth, full bodied and warming winter sipper. 9.2% ABV / contains barley, rye, candi sugar, currant, plum, hops, yeast, cinnamon, oak.

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown that gives off almost a dark cherry wood presence to it. There's a reddish hue as it hits the light but unfortunately the lighting of my new place is overly yellow so I can't get a good shot anywhere. Thin head - light beige, diminishes to just a light amount of film.

Aroma: The first thing I got was "burnt plastic" smell, which took me back to memories of a million beers I've had from a classic brewery immediately south of OGC. Thankfully for me, that smell went away pretty quickly. Now it's got a very sweet, wintery, Belgian vibe to it. The first thing I think is "I could sure use this when it's -20C" but with it being abnormally warm (0C as I type this), this definitely deserves a colder temperature outside. Quite a syrupy sugar that reminds me of Rogers syrup (if you're reading this in the future - there was a sugar shortage when I wrote this). There's notes of cinnamon, a hint of oak, plum and a mild breadiness to it. This pretty much smells like a cinnamon bun with dark fruits. Oh, there is a tad bit of a nutty bitterness but my mind is focusing only on the sweetness.

Taste: Hmmm, this is an interesting one. It's pretty much what I got in the aroma but the very first thing I get here is cinnamon followed by the candi sugar that gives off a sweet syrupy goodness in every sampling yet. Velvety smooth for palate, a tad nutty and a rich, heavy taste that all I can describe as a really motor oily stout.. it's hard to say. Boozy? At 9.2% it's going to creep up on me but so far it's pretty smooth for what it is.

Overall Thoughts: Thankfully letting it settle for a good moment made this beer turn out different than my first impression. Will this become one of those new annual beer traditions alongside the cranberry stouts, Toques of Hazard and Innis & Gunn taster packs? It definitely should be, it fits the theme and it's great to chuckle at.. Also.. there's a SERIOUS drought of Belgian ales here so I'll take all I can get!

Also, this is definitely a Cody themed beeer... bah humbug..

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