Just thinking about all the great beers that are going to be poured into craft beer lovers glasses this year makes it hard to pick our first beer to start off 2010. With the holiday season behind us and the future looking delicious we figured we’d start things off with something that represented all the great beers to come throughout the year. That is why for the January beer of the month the Hop Cast has picked Shipyards Prelude. This winter warmer is available from November – December so you better get to the store quick to see if they have any left. But don’t let the winter warmer description fool you since its sometimes listed as a “british style dark pale ale.” It comes in with an ABV of 6.8% which makes it good for a winter day or evening of drinking with friends. It pours out a darker amber / light brown color with a tan creamy head. The aroma is sweet with butterscotch, caramel and molasses, hitting you up front with some winter spices. The taste is much milder and malty then you expect. There is a nice hint of alcohol to complement the spices and the hops come through in the finish with some bitterness to balance it all out. This is a hearty beer in your mouth and could work excellent with some food. Its also very session-able, it goes down easy and isn’t overly spiced. Shipyard did a great job with this winter warmer. If this is the prelude to all the great beers to come this year, then bring it on!