The Weather Outside is Frightful but These Beers are so Delightful!

Posted: October 30, 2010 in Flavor Series, Winter Brews

Brewing special seasonal beers predates modern history and has its origin in the pagan celebrations of winter solstice. Later, as monasteries often functioned as the local brewery, some monks made the first holiday commemorative beers to celebrate the birth of Christ. Winter beers are as much a state of mind as a style, but beers best for fending off the cold of a long winter night — such as old ales, strong ales, barley wines and strong lagers — are often associated with winter.

There are a ton of different styles of winter beer, its perhaps the most widely flavored seasonal brew with each brewer having the freedom to do what they chose. What classifies a winter beer? Well it’s dark, sometimes, and it tends to be thicker, but that’s really about it. The beer itself may be sweet, it may be bitter, it may be hoppy, or it may be malty, it can really go in a thousand different ways so the easiest way to talk to about them is to just cover a few of my favorites but I encourage you to try as many as you can, because they really are all so much different!

The Gift, Star Hill. This beer truly is a gift, and if someone gave me a six pack for Christmas, I would be perfectly happy! This beer is a lovely copper color, which pours from the bottle with little if any head. Some carbonation bubbles are seen lazily rising towards the surface but not many. This beer starts malty, but there are serious hints of apples, oranges and grapes, giving it some nice fruity undertones. You get a really nice toffee, almost caramel aftertaste that makes you crave another sip. This beer is not at all thick, it’s medium bodied, and almost a pilsner! The gift weighs in with 25 IBUS and 6.5%ABV

Hibernator, Long tail. This Unfiltered Scottish aAle winter masterpiece a dark Reddish, garnet color, when held up to the light you can tell this beer is unfiltered, as its more than a little cloudy. It has a light brown almost sandy colored head that doesn’t stick around long but does leave its mark with a little bit of lacing that will hold on all the way to the finish. It starts of with a very strong malty taste, almost like a buttery biscuit, which is very different. It ends with a just a little fruit, possibly citrus, tang, and just the slightest bite of hops. Take your time on this beer, its much for complex if you drink it slow and the savor the sips. The Hibernator weighs in with 25 IBUS, and 6.0%ABV


  1. I love a good “winter ale” after a great day of skiing ( or this time of year, a great day of ski sales ). My favorite is the Winter Ale by Otter Creek Brewing – a great seasonal, winter brew!

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