Warm up this winter… with beer

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First Posted: 12/14/2014

There is no doubt the cold winter chill has begun. With below zero temperatures on the horizon it is time to find ways to keep warm. While some turn to making their coffee an Irish one during the winter months there are other ways to indulge and keep warm.

Beer drinkers traditionally make the switch to darker and richer beers during the winter months due to their warming properties. However, there is one particular style that is perfectly suited for this task and the name itself implies.

The Winter Warmer style is very appropriate for the task of warming one up this winter with its rich and hearty malt bill. Many beers in this style category are brewed with the winter holidays in mind and also given a healthy dose of spices to go with the celebrations.

Here is a short list of great winter warmers to stock up on this winter season:

1. Samuel Smith Old Brewery- Winter Welcome Ale: This decadently sweet beer has strong notes of sweet caramel, toffee, dates, and plums. The aroma is extremely inviting and is perfect for the winter weather. The incredible smooth easy drinking characteristics of this beer make it an absolute must try. Fans of English beer styles will be clambering to get more of this brew.

2. Sam Adams- Old Fezziwig: Sam Adams is no stranger to many craft beer lovers and each year they release their classic, Old Fezziwig, to the delight of beer lovers everywhere. The rich malt character creates notes of sweet toffee, caramel, and chocolate while classic holiday spices like cinnamon, ginger and orange peel dance on the tongue. Quite possibly the only beer you need in your fridge during the holidays.

3. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company- 12 Dogs of Christmas: The 8.3 percent ABV in this beer will certainly keep you warm on the coldest of nights. The strong malt characteristics, dominated mainly by notes of caramel, find perfect balance against a generous dosing of honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. A surprisingly easy drinking beer with a fairly complex flavor profile that opens up even more as it warms up. A great beer to have as a sipper during a long cold night.

4. 21st Amendment Brewery- Fireside Chat: The 21st Amendment is a brewery that seems to have nailed down perfect beers for each of the four seasons including winter. Fireside Chat not only boasts great artwork on the can with former president FDR, seated prominently as he did during his famous fireside chats, but also boasts some fantastic beer inside. The 7.9 percent ABV again aids in the warmth factor with a fantastic English style ale balanced with spices and hints of cocoa. If there is a perfect beer to enjoy by the fire, this is it.

5. Great Lakes Brewing Company- Christmas Ale: Christmas Ale features strong notes of spices in the nose and taste. Notes of ginger are up front, quickly followed by cinnamon and honey giving the impression of fresh graham crackers. To say that this beer is easy drinking in an understatement. The complexities of Christmas Ale are beyond words and it is simply a must try winter beer that will quickly become your new seasonal favorite.

Craft brewers have been perfecting the winter warmer style over the past few years with many more taking a shot at the style. While hop forward beers like IPA’s get love throughout the year the winter season is a great time to investigate this malt forward style, the malty goodness of them just may surprise you.