Richly flavored winter beers often use holiday spices like clove, orange peel and cinnamon, and even chocolate malt. The flavors are seasonal hallmarks, matched by a fuller body and richer flavors that stand up to cooler temperatures of the late fall and winter months.
Craft brewers helped establish the return of full-flavored beer to American shelves in the 80s and 90s. Many of them were instrumental in bringing seasonal offerings, common in Europe, and creating the vibrant craft landscape we have today. Check out these classic craft breweries and the beers that are arriving in stores before Thanksgiving, just in time for November’s cooler weather.
This spiced wheat bock is made in the style of a malty German winter beer and then spiced with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel. The addition of a wheat malt makes the beer smooth and easy drinking while it retains the deeper flavors of the season!
First brewed back in 1981, Sierra Nevada’s seasonal craft beer was ahead of its time both for American made IPA’s as well as seasonal beers in general. Now referred to a Fresh Hop IPA, this ale is made from the first hops of the season. The freshness carries through to the resulting ale. Bright aromas of citrus and pine dance over this bold and intense celebration of the season!
After catching the Microbrew bug in college in the 90’s, brothers Chris and John Trogner opened their own brewery in central Pennsylvania. Every year they release one of the best seasonals on the market: The Mad Elf. The Mad Elf is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with west coast honey and cherries, giving it a rich red amber color. A sweet and malty ale, it has subtle tart cherry flavors, honey and mulling spice flavors. It is a strong ale, (around 11%ABV) and so smooth you might not notice!
Brooklyn’s Winter lager is a modified Schwarzbier style, a dark lager that is still crisp and refreshing and retains layers of malty flavor paired with a bright hoppy flavor. Easy drinking and 5.6% ABV, it has flavors of Milk Chocolate, roasted barley, and black bread.