Winter is cold and there’s nothing quite like warming up on a chilly winter day in front of a roaring fire with a beer in hand. Mirroring the extended nights of winter, these beers tend to be heavy and dark. Many winter beers get into the holiday spirit, incorporating flavors that pair well with winter feasting. Here are some styles to watch out for during the deep winter.
Stouts and Porters — These two styles have a lot in common. Dark as night with a roasted flavor, they’re the heaviest beers leaving you with a warm fullness that is perfect for hibernation. Plus, they come complete in many different variations, so you can search for the best stout or porter for your particular tastes.
Imperial — Among brewers, imperial is short for extra boozy. Unsurprisingly, most people can’t have too many imperial beers in one night because they are usually not the best idea if you plan on starting to drink around noon. But in the winter, when there aren’t any cookouts or long vacation days to worry about, imperial beers become a lot more appealing. Plus, the extra alcohol content provides a pleasant warmth, which helps make the cold nights more bearable.
Bourbon — Another popular technique for winter brewers is barrel aging. This involves letting the beer age in a used liquor barrel for months at a time. As a result, the oaky flavor of the liquor is imparted upon the beer. This technique works best on heavy, high-alcohol beers, so they are especially well-suited for the colder months.
Chocolate and Coffee — Stouts and porters already have subtle coffee and chocolate notes. Many brewers play on these subtle flavors by actually adding chocolate and coffee to their brews. These heavy, dark flavors are perfect for the kind of dessert beers that scream winter.