We can finally look ahead to 2017 with hope for a better year. This year will bring plenty of new and exciting beers as well as the release of our favorite seasonals, so it is the perfect time to take a look ahead of what 2017 has to offer.
Winter: As light fades to the background and darkness and cold seem to engulf us during these months it is quite easy to get depressed. However, a transition to darker beers such as stouts and porters help take off the edge. Higher ABV beers such as barleywines and strong ales are also a welcome site this time of year. The high ABV and rich warming characteristics of the beers helps to chase away winter blues offering flavor complexities and an aid to relaxation. Some great beers to enjoy during the winter are: Terrapin- Wake N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout; Brooklyn Brewery- Black Chocolate Stout; Ballast Point- Victory at Sea; Founder’s- Imperial Stout; Stone Brewing- Double Bastard Ale; Carton Brewing- Regular Coffee; Lagunitas- Brown Shugga’; and Jack’s Abby- Brandy Barrel-Aged Framminghammer.
Spring: The transition from cold to warm, sunny days and green landscapes call for beers that are a perfect balance of light and dark. The trick is to find beers that don’t weigh too heavily on the palate or the stomach but are not so light that they closer resemble good summer beers. Some great style choices for spring are: Dunkel Weizen, Weizenbock, Maibock, or Black IPA’s. The rich malt characteristics and sometimes fruity and/or hoppy notes are the perfect balance of light and dark. Some great beers to try that fit these style guidelines are: Rouge- Dead Guy Ale; Weihenstephaner- Vitus; Victory Brewing- Moon Glow Weizenbock; Southern Tier- Goat Boy; Weihenstephan- Hefeweissbier Dunkel; Ayinger- Ur-Weisse; Odell Brewing- Mountain Standard; and 21st Amendment- Back in Black
Summer: Summer is of course the perfect time to relax with cold beers that are light and refreshing. This is the time of year when Weissbiers, IPAs, pale ales, wheat ales, and pilsners dominate space in the fridge. There is an endless number of beers that fall into these vast varieties and many are available year round and may also be great to enjoy helping bring a spark of light to the dark days of winter. Some great beers to enjoy during the summer are: Victory Brewing- Prima Pils; Firestone Walker- Pivo Pils; Hardywood- The Great Return; Tree House Brewing- Julius; Dogfish Head- Festina Pêche; Ballast Point- Sculpin IPA; Kane Brewing- Head High IPA; Great Divide- Titan IPA; Lagunitas- Hop Stoopid; Rushing Duck- Baby Elephant; and Kane Brewing- Head High.
Fall: The fall season is another pivotal transition season as we leave the long hot days behind. Beers that have some more malt forward flavors and subtle warming characteristics are great this time of year. The weather has a slight chill in the air and the wonderful fall colors are best reflected in wonderful malt choices. Great beer styles to enjoy this time of year are Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ales, Bière de Garde, and Scotch Ales. Some great beers to enjoy are: Sam Adams- Octoberfest, Great Lakes- Oktoberfest; Two Roads Brewing- Roadsmary’s Baby; Cigar City- Good Gourd; Jolly Pumpkin- Oro De Calabaza; Orkney Brewery- Skull Splitter; and Traquair House Brewery- Traquair House Ale
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.