Wednesday, November 2, 2011
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Winter beer season is here!
Sorry for the lapse in post. Storm took focus from posting to consuming.
With the onslaught of pumpkin ale and Oktoberfest season now at a close and a slow disappearing of those beer from all the stores its now time for an even more overwhelming beer season. With the winter brings a whole new mix of different brews to pick from. Christmas Ales, Holiday Porters, Belgium Doubles and Triples, and Stouts galore will fill the shelves.
Each brewery does it differently, you can count on some putting forth a hefty darker style beer packed with a dominate malty flavor. But there are plenty of other breweries that offer something totally different. This has been somewhat of the trend from what I've experienced(try Smuttynose Winter Ale for a great example of maltiness and Harpoon Winter Warmer for a spice filled ale).
In addition to my regular favorites, this is a time to look forward to your favorite brewery putting out an experimental batch that could be a delight. Two or three years ago Riverhorse in Lambertville, NJ released their Oatmeal Milk Stout that was wildly popular. This year the same brewery will put out a Chocolate Porter. Meanwhile still keeping their Oatmeal Milk Stout as their yearly winter release in addition to their equally popular Belgian Freeze.
Also Weyerbacher in Easton, PA is planning a release party for their one of a kind Idiot's Drool. With the craze of oak barrel aged beer at a fever pitch, Weyerbacher is setting a great example of how to do it right. Idiot's Drool is simply their Blithering Idiot, a hefty Barleywine style brew aged in Bourbon barrels for 4 years!!!! The anticipated release is November 17th and is happening at the brewery. This beer is not being released in stores so if you're close by, make the trip. This is also in addition to their Winter Ale(keep an eye out for the Klepto-snowmen on the packaging), and their Quad.
Then there's the Vermont trio. Longtrail in Bridgewater Corners, VT has their popular Hibernator. Otter Creek in Middlebury, VT took their awesome Black IPA out of the seasonal category and replaced it with an all new Winter Red Ale. Thankfully they kept the Black IPA as a year round selection. And Wolaver's, also in Middlebury, VT has a their tasty Alta Garcia Coffee Porter.
Although not my favorite, Troeg's in Hershey PA has their insanely popular Mad Elf. Plan on picking this up if you see it. My taste buds are defective, so I'm told, since people are in love with this beer and it just grossed me out last year. But I will try again this year.
Finally, Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, CA has their equally popular Christmas Ale. This beer is one you can't judge by trying once. Unlike other breweries, Anchor does something very different for their seasonal offering. Instead of keeping the same recipe each year, they basically completely rehaul the entire recipe every year. Try it this year and if you love it, buy it is mass quantities since you will never get that same offering again. It's somewhat saddening(observe my wife and I passionately talking about how good the 2010 offering was) but that makes this brew so special each year.
Keep your eye out for these and others this winter season. You can get a malty hearty ale or a beer hinted with pine cones. Unlike the pumpkin ale season where it's all pumpkin in every bottle, The winter season is full of variety, and wonder. Stay warm, and keep the beer flowing to guide you through the cold months!