Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t imbibe. During the chilly season, there is nothing like a malt-heavy beverage, so here are some of the best seasonal beers to keep you cozy this winter. Pair any of them with a Puc’n Glass, the perfect gift for beer lovers.
A blanket term used to describe seasonal winter beer, winter warmers (or Christmas beers) are meant to warm us during harsh winters. While often served with traditional holiday meals such as roast beef or apple pie, these dark beers are treats in and of themselves, often brewed with added flavors such as raisins or maple syrup.
Recommended: Silver City Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Scrooge Ale (Silverdale, WA), Fremont Brewing Co. Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale (Seattle, WA), Troegs Mad Elf (Hershey, PA)
Malty sweetness dominates these bold ales, bolstered by a touch of peatiness and caramel. Scotch ales–also known as Wee Heavy–are generally low in hops and, like the winter warmer, are regarded as somewhat of a dessert beer. Certain to be your new favorite dark beer.
Recommended: AleSmith Wee Heavy (San Diego, CA), Sierra Nevada Maple Scotch Style Ale (Chico, CA), Smuttynose Scotch Ale (Hampton, NH)
This confusingly-named beer is bold, rich, and absolutely not a wine. A high ABV (generally 8-12%), coupled with massive helpings of hops and barley, makes for a complex, noticeably bitter taste accentuated by notes of breadiness, caramel, and molasses. Barleywines are admittedly intense, but their strong character earns them a spot on every beer aficionados list.
Recommended: Revolution Brewing Straight Jacket (Chicago, IL), The Bruery Mash (Placentia, CA), Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine (Chicago, IL)
Rauchbier translates to “smoke beer,” and is characterized by–you guessed it–a smoky or woody flavor. Clear, balanced, and aromatic, rauchbier is a throwback to a few hundred years ago when the norm during brewing was directly applying fire in the malting process. Frequently referred to as “bacon beers,” this polarizing but intriguing brew deserves a try.
Recommended: Alaskan Brewing Company Smoked Porter (Juneau, AK), Stone Brewing Co. Stone Smoked Porter (Escondido, CA), Heavy Seas Smoke on the Water (Baltimore, MD)This list is by no means exhaustive and tastes always vary, so the important thing to get out and try new beers. Great beer can be hard to find, but oftentimes you needn’t look any further than your local bar or brewery.
Happy winter drinking!