We Asked 13 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Cold-Weather Beer?

Despite the groundhog’s prediction this year, we seem to be dealing with a few more weeks of winter. And when there is a chill in the air or snow on the ground, we find ourselves reaching for a nice beverage to warm up with. While some may reach for a Hot Toddy, Buttered Rum, or some spiked hot cocoa, there are also many beers that are the perfect complement to winter weather.

So, what makes a beer suitable for frosty days and frigid nights? Some drinkers enjoy a roasty malt character, some look for a bit more full-hop bite, and others want something higher in alcohol with a bit of sweetness. But for some, all ale and lager styles are for all seasons.

That’s why we asked 13 brewers for their go-to cold weather beer. And whether you’re curled up by a fire romanticizing the season or simply trying to survive freezing temperatures, these brews are sure to warm you up.

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The Best Go-To Cold-Weather Beers, According to Brewers:

  • Dark Czech lager
  • Black IPAs
  • Evil Twin Aged Fruit Sours Volume 2
  • Great Lakes Brewing Co. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke Doppelbock
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo
  • Brieux Carre Flek me?? No Flek Ů!
  • Schilling Modernism
  • Machine House Brewing Dark Mild
  • Guinness
  • Fox Farm barleywine
  • Milk stouts

“My favorite go-to cold weather beer is a dark Czech lager. It has the dark berry, roasty flavors that I’m looking for when the temperature drops, but with the soft-medium mouthfeel I look for in lagers. It’s perfectly easy-drinking while staying true to the trend of dark beers in the winter.” —Andreina Uribe, cellarperson, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Brooklyn

Evil Twin Aged Fruit Sours Volume 2 is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“I relocated from south Florida to Colorado to be a head brewer, [so] I’ve been obsessed with brewing black beers since it’s my first [real] winter in eight years. I’ve made black IPAs to black kolschs. I’ve been pounding Evil Twin Aged Fruit Sours Volume 2. Black IPAs still have that hoppiness with more depth, and the Evil Town sour is just perfect because of [its] berries with a hint of cinnamon, so it reminds me of a delicious mulled wine” —Emily Ellsworth, head brewer and operations, Wonderland Brewing Company, Broomfield, Colo.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes is always great. Perfect roast and ester balance, [and its] medium balance skits across the mouth like a cutter across the sea. It never disappoints, even in a warm bottle.” —Andrew Hardin, brewer, Griffon Brewery and Gastropub, Youngstown N.Y.

Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke Doppelbock is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“When it does get to an actual winter-like temp down here, I like an Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke Doppelbock. Great campfire beer.” —Emmanuel Gonzalez, brewer, Florida Avenue Brewing, Tampa, Fla.

“Personally, I don’t really change up my taste in beer during the winter. I’m always looking for something with a high level of drinkability [such as] light lagers, kolsch, or a well-done IPA. The cliche ‘stout season’ doesn’t resonate with me when a lot of modern stouts have the drinkability of syrup.” —Tyler Ostlund, head of production, Bricksworth Beer Co., Burnsville, Minn.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“Probably Sierra Nevada Torpedo. There’s something about drinking a really robust, piney, extra-pale in the snow.” —Ian Smith, lead brewer, Kings County Brewers Collective, Brooklyn

“I have always loved brewing up and drinking a schwarzbier for the cold months. Add in a little coffee and now you’re really talking my language! Lately, though, my go-to winter beer is Brieux Carre’s Flek Me?? No Flek Ů!, which is a Czech dark lager. It still has that light-ABV, crisp lager base, but partnered with a full mouthfeel, chocolaty head and toasty dark fruits. It is such a good beer and it’s even better when it’s a little crisp outside — never too heavy, so you can drink way more than one to keep you warm! If you find yourself in NOLA, don’t miss this one, even if it’s not so cold here.” —Shawna Hayes, head brewer, Miel Brewery and Taproom, New Orleans

Schilling Modernism is one of the best cold weather beers, according to bartenders.

“I’m not usually a seasonal drinker but when I think of cold months in the winter, the style that comes to mind is dark lager. That’s a bit broad, but that’s on purpose because many greats fall into that category. This year, however, Czech Dark Lager was the one that was most notable for me. Schilling Modernism was one I was fortunate to get my hands on, and what a treat that was! Locally, though, I had a really good one from Town Brewing called Velvet Rope!” —LaTroya Butts, brewer, Resident Culture Brewing Co., Charlotte, N.C.

Dark Mild from Machine House Brewing in Seattle is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“My go-to cold-weather beer is most definitely the Dark Mild from Machine House Brewing in Seattle. Any day when I can get a cheeky pint before a movie at The Beacon or after work is a treat, and I always cherish that first pint. And always enjoy a second.” —Andrew Schwartz, cofounder, Human People Beer, Seattle

Guinness is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“Celebration starts the season off, and then after that, [I’ll drink] anything dark but still light— akin to a Guinness. If Guinness is on tap, I’ll probably grab that, but I’m always looking for a craft option of something sub-6 percent, super roasty, and super flavorful, but that also won’t fill you up or get you too drunk.” —Evan Morris, co-founder and operations director, Phase Three Brewing, Lake Zurich, Ill.

Fox Farm barleywine is one of the best cold weather beers, according to brewers.

“I just had a Fox Farm barleywine that was the most perfect thing ever for a cold winter night. With the higher ABV and sweetness, it just warmed the soul inside and out.” —Joanie Payne, lead brewer, Kato Sake Works, Brooklyn

“I love a dark lager, specifically a schwarzbier. It’s full of flavor, but still refreshingly light. It’s the perfect beer for some cold-weather comfort food.” —Zahra Tabatabai, founder and brewer, Back Home Beer, Brooklyn

“I love milk stouts during the cooler months! Being one of the few styles with lactose that I really enjoy, I believe they shine brightest on chilly nights. Milk stouts are smooth, sweet, and the dynamic between flavor and aroma keeps them interesting as the pour warms up. They provide so much opportunity for a brewer’s creativity to shine!” —Emily Hall, innovation brewer, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn