Winter Beers - Never Winter Ale

I am pleased to see David Zuckerman's signature on the label of the poorly-named Never Summer Ale from Boulder Beer. It is a tip of the hat to the person who is arguably Colorado's finest brewer working for inarguably its best brewery. Boulder has long given a little too much weight to the marketing department, who come up with names like Never Summer Ale. Witness the language on the bottle:
Welcome to Never Summer Ale, our version of an aggressive winter seasonal and the 3rd release in our Looking Glass Serious of specialty beers. Deep ruby red, assertively hopped and brewed with dark caramel malt, Never Summer Ale makes even the coldest Colorado peaks seem warm. Thanks for picking up our winter favorite. We invite you to discover all of our award-winning beers at Celebrate the long nights of winter. Cheers and enjoy!
I have no doubt Dave never laid eyes on this text, but nevermind the label, the name, or the fake homey text. (I think the signature is real.) This is a Zuckerman beer, which is good news for Webfeet--Dave honed his craft at BridgePort and makes great beers.

Tasting Notes
Despite the overwrought language, this isn't a crazy beer. It is in what I think of as the "classic" NW style of winter ales, ala Jubel and Wassail. It pours deep red with a white head--candy cane seasonal. The hop aroma is coupled with a candyish sweetness. It smells like a classic winter ale.

It falls on the lighter end of the winter spectrum (6%), but tastes robust and hearty. I was first put off slightly by the thin body--some winters are thick and creamy, frothed for warmth--but the flavor is as deep and rich as I was hoping for. Nice balance, a promising underlayment of alcohol bite, and a long, slow finish. The website claims there's an unnamed spice in the beer, but it apparently only draws out the hopping; anyway, I can't identify it. Extra points if you know, super ultra extra points if you can identify it with your palate alone. Great beer.

Hops: Nugget, Willamette, Cascade.
Malts: Two-row pale and dark British caramel
Alcohol by Volume: 6%
Original Gravity: 15 degrees Plato
Bitterness Units: unkown.
Other: "Top secret brewmaster's spice"
Available: Belmont Station.