When cold weather sets in we all grab our comfort foods but how about comfort beer? Here are are favorite new brews that will warm your spirits on the long, cold days of Winter.
Up here in the northeast, as the leaves start to fall off the trees indicating fall has arrived soon to be followed by winter, our choice of beers move to the more robust, full-bodied beers; such as porters, stouts, doppelbock, and bocks. Thrown in between these are some seasonal beers only available during this time of the year. On occasion, we still adventure back to an IPA or pale ale, especially when in the mood for the hoppiness of an IPA.
Starting with the porters.
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter (Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England): This very dark, full bodied ale is brewed with water from the original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758. It is fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ (fermenting vessels made of solid slabs of slate). Taddy Porter has a nice dry, tangy character. Porter beer was first brewed in the early 18th century; gaining its name from being consumed by porters in the fish, meat and other produce markets. This 5% ABV porter is best served at about 55°F.
Smutty Nose Baltic Porter (Hampton, NH): This porter follows in the footsteps of traditional Baltic Porters by using lager yeast. This big, bold porter has flavors of coffee, dark fruit and raisins, This black beer goes down smoothly with an 9% ABV.
Moving on to the stouts.
(or stronger porters, if one prefers to use that definition).
Samuel Smith Imperial Stout: This distinctive type of beer was originally brewed to withstand the rough voyage from England to Imperial Russia. This rich flavorful stout has a deep chocolate color with a roasted barley nose and flavor that is a complexity of malt, hops, alcohol and yeast. Fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’. With an ABV of 7%, it is best served at around 59°F.
Two Roads Espressway Cold Brew Coffee Stout (Stratford, CT): Using a process unique to Two Roads, they mix a locally-roasted Ethiopian/Sumatra blend of beans with a their rich oatmeal stout under pressure (like espresso but without the steam) using their German-built “Brewnik” device. The resulting mixture is steeped for several days yeilding a true, cold-brewed coffee stout. The coffee flavor is in the forefront of this 6.5% ABV stout.
Two Roads Unorthodox Russian Imperial Stout: Two Roads put an American twist on a traditional Russian Imperial Stout. This Unorthodox Russian Imperial Stout is brewed with malted rye and aggressively hopped with four different Pacific Northwest varieties yielding a stout that is deep in character and flavor. It is a full-bodied stout with 9.2% ABV has hints of rye, treacle, chocolate and espresso.
Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (Brooklyn, NY): This Russian Imperial Stout is only available from October to March. Its dark chocolate aroma and flavor is accomplished through the skillful blending of six malts and months of aging. If you happen to be in the mode for an ice cream float, try pouring this stout over some exceptional French vanilla ice cream. This stout, with an 10.0% ABV, can be stored in a cool, dry place away from light to further develop its character.
Now for some seasonal brew, bock, and Oktoberfest Marzen
Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale: This “winter warmer” seasonal beer is great for the short days and long nights of winter. A full body ale that is fermented in opened-topped stone “Yorkshire squares” has a hardy malt character with a multiple subtle flavors and tastes. This 6% ABV ale is best served at about 51°F.
Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel (Andechs, Germany): This bock from Bavaria’s Holy Mountain has a color of dark copper with hints of fiery red. With aromas roasted malts, dried fruit, and a hint of caramel. The flavor is malty from this robust full bodied bock with a chocolate finish. A strong triple mash Doppelbock with an ABV of 7.1%
A few other beers to enjoy with a meal or for a change of pace during the colder part of the year.
Stony Creek Cranky and Big Cranky IPA (Brandford, CT): Cranky IPA has a hoppy character with a smooth malt back. The citrus and tropical fruit hops are at the forefront of this 6.8% ABV IPA. If you are in the mode for a bolder IPA, try Cranky’s big brother; Big Cranky, a double IPA with an 9.5% ABV. A West Coast Double IPA, with 7 different hops causing a complex and juicy hop character. The dry finish allows the hops to shine.
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale (Fort Collins, CO): Fat Tire Amber Ale, an American amber, has a toasty, sweet biscuit aroma with malt flavors balanced well with hop bitterness. A clean, crisp, refreshing ale that pairs well with a broad range of foods. This medium bodied, amber in color ale has an 5.2% ABV.
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