Stoudt's Winter Ale is different every year; I remember a rye beer, a cocoa-tinged beer. This year's edition is a "hoppy red ale," a 6.2% little beauty, actually. I made friends with this one quickly. It's got a juicy character to it, a solid blend of amber malt and hop flavor, with some good fruity esters rolling around in there too. I got three (samples, yes, samples), and the other two, well, I kinda drank them already, just for fun, before getting around to working on this one.
The hop's definitely, firmly there, especially in the finish, and if I had to fault the beer at all, it's that the bitterness is maybe a bit on the harsh side... But the malt floats it pretty well. Is this an odd choice for a "holiday beer"? Well, have a glass of Sierra Nevada Celebration, and then tell me. A holiday beer doesn't have to be a spiced beer, or a malt-bomb winter warmer. It can be just a special beer. A really likable hoppy red ale, for instance. If you see this one, I'd get some.