As winter bares its frosty teeth, covering bars and brewpubs everywhere in a dusting of fresh powder, a slew of new brews becomes available in bottle shops across the states. People tend to think of winter as a time for rich, dark stouts and porters. While there are exceptional examples of those styles being released, some creative brewers are applying new twists on old classics, while others seem to be creating their own boundaries. As you crack open that laptop to get your holiday shopping done, be sure to enjoy one of these sensational seasonal beers.
Canadian Breakfast Stout
Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to try this one of a kind winter seasonal, Founders has truly done it again. This stout has the same recipe as Founder’s famous KBS, but was housed in maple syrup bourbon barrels, giving it an extra kick of sweetness and complexity. Along with the maple, CBS boasts notes of coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, and coffee – a delicious, mouth coating combination. People flock to this one for a reason
Location: Denver, CO
Just in time to ward off the coldest days of winter, Orabelle is a great expression of this classic Belgian style. This tripel utilizes two different yeast strains, adding complex notes of clove, herb, and banana. The brewers at Great Divide Brewing also added coriander and orange peel to complete this wonderful winter sipper.
Liquid Truth Serum
Location: Milton, DE
Dogfish Head has once again blown it out of the park with the Liquid Truth Serum. All of the bittering from this beer comes from post boil hop additions, leading to intense tropical flavor. The classic dry piney hoppiness is a crisp secondary note, refreshing the palate and imploring the drinker for another pull.
Northwind Imperial Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
Location: Warrenville, IL
If you ever needed a beer to chase off those winter blues, Northwind by Two Brothers Brewing is the perfect beer. A deep, rich core of dark chocolate is wrapped in a coating of espresso and toast. Forget the cookies, leave Santa some of this imperial stout to guarantee no coal this Christmas.
Juicy Tree IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
Location: Bellaire, MI
This experimental release by Short’s Brewing Company is host to a myriad of flavors. Juicy Tree is brewed with spruce tips, and then topped with cranberries and juniper berries. As a result, it is bursting with ripe, fruity flavors. At 82 IBUs, Juicy Tree has a strong enough hop backing to balance the sweet, tangy nature of the fruit.
Belgian Christmas Ale
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Location: Hood River, OR
The perfect beer to enjoy while wrapping all of those presents, pFriem’s Christmas Ale is the whole package. Loaded with coriander and spice, the beer is complex right out of the gates. Layers of chocolate and orange accentuate the spices, while a robust malt backbone balances the intensity of the flavors.
Style: Pale Ale
Location: Petaluma, CA
Who says fruity beer is only good in the summer? Lagunitas will be going on their fourth release of this blood orange pale ale this year, and for good reason. A rich wheat back balances well with the bitterness from Citra, Equinox, and Chinook hops. The result? An incredibly refreshing IPA loaded with bright citrus and tropical fruit character.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Scrooge
Style: Old Ale
Location: Silverdale, WA
One of the all time greatest holiday brews ever made, Old Scrooge should be a bucket list beer for all connoisseurs out there. If you get your hands on one of these be very careful who you tell. They might want you to share!Silver City brewers employed single use Kentucky bourbon casks to age their holiday specialty. Rich spice notes of clove and cinnamon are balanced with dark caramel, light cherry, and bourbon. The perfect ale for some fireside sipping.
These eight lovely beers will certainly keep you warm on the coldest of winter nights. As temperatures drop, fill those growlers and call up some friends. The brews this winter will surely knock your socks off… and keep you warm enough that you won’t need them anyway.