Winter Warmers are made to warm you up in winter. Hard to believe, isn’t it? These have big malty flavors, are usually low in the hops department, sometimes are made with actual winter-time spices, and have a fairly high alcohol content. These warm your soul as much, or maybe even more, than your mother’s hearty, homemade soup. In my opinion, these shouldn’t be paired with food. Just sit back on your easy chair and enjoy a few of these wonderful brews. Serve between 45 and 50 degrees.
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale – Boston Beer Company in Boston, MA
This is one of my favorites by the Boston Beer Co. As far as I know, there aren’t six-packs. You’ll have to get the Winter Mix Pack, which has a couple other good treats. Old Fezziwig pours a dark ruby-red and has about a half-inch head that has decent staying power. The smell is nice; raisins, ginger, and a pinch of cinnamon. The taste starts off with an unexpected roasted malt flavor, then chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, and orange all come in. The hops start to show up, but are overtaken by ginger. All of this wraps up with a subtle warming sensation from the alcohol. This is a beautifully balanced beer that you must try. I’ve heard that some people can’t find it in there area, but I’ve never had any trouble at all. Again, this is only available during the winter months.
Old Jubilation – Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, CO
I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by Avery. Old Jubilation has a clean reddish-brown color with an average head. There’s a lot going on with the smell. Chocolate notes are most prominent. Look for nutmeg, ginger, and piney hops. It’s like Christmas scent in a glass! It has a robust malty flavor. There’s coffee, chocolate, raisins, mixed with your typical winter spices. Towards the end, you get a taste of the hops. With an ABV of 8%, you can really feel this beer warming you up as it makes it’s way to your stomach. A brilliant example of a Winter Warmer. Thanks Avery!
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale – Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC
This beer also has a deep reddish color, but the head on it is better than the others I mentioned. Upon first smell, I could tell that this was going to be good. Everything smells so fresh! Vanilla bean aromas are huge along with freshly ground nutmeg and cinnamon. Cherries and chocolate are easily detectable as well. This still remains one of my favorite beers to smell. Vanilla is one of the strongest flavors, but it isn’t overpowering, or overbearing like you would expect it to be. It’s also nutty, spicy, and sweet. Everything revolves around the vanilla, but somehow remains perfectly balanced. This is like some incredible dessert that came straight out of your grandmother’s oven. Words can’t describe such a clean, natural flavor. Get this beer now!