With December setting in, we’re officially gearing up for all things winter and warming. On that note, did you know there’s actually a category of beers called Winter Warmers? It’s true — Winter Warmers are malty sweet ales, with a solid malt presence in their flavor profile and body. They can range in color from amber to jet black with a balanced hop presence. While traditional English versions do not contain spices, the “wassail” method includes the addition of spices to hearty ales prior to hopping. Could there possibly be a better drink of choice for this frigidly frosty time of year? We’ve rounded up a list of 10 of our favorite Winter Warmers to get you started for the upcoming snowy months. Grab a blanket, a movie, and a six-pack to start warming up this season. Disclaimer: All of the following pair perfectly with good company, all types of grilled cheese, fresh falling snowflakes out your living room window, comfort food and, of course, Netflix & Chill.
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Deep amber in color with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, this one is sure to warm you from the first sip. Toffee and nutmeg on the nose carry over to the palate to create a smooth, mellow finish. Spices are well balanced without overtaking the flavor profile of the brew. A delicious selection.
Fireside Chat, 21st Amendment Brewery
Rich and dark, this English-style ale is lightly spiced with hand-selected spices. The aromas are mild, with dark chocolate as a first notable scent. Festive and mild, this well-balanced brew is exactly what it advertises — perfect for Fireside Chats with loved ones.
Sweetwater Festive Ale, SweetWater Brewing Company
This robust ale is brewed with a solid amount of malt, creating pleasant roasted cocoa aromas. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with roasty aromas carrying over to the palate. Easy drinking and low in bitterness, this is a great introductory Winter Warmer to get you started for the season.
Harpoon Winter Warmer, Harpoon Brewery
Looking for a lighter-style Winter Warmer? This copper- colored brew is just for you. Pleasant aromas of cinnamon waft from the glass. With no aromatic hops added, the spice is present and satisfying. The palate is both citrusy and spicy, with a nutmeg and cinnamon blend on the finish. At less than 6% alcohol, this is definitely one of your lighter Winter Warmer finds.
Schlafly Christmas Ale, The Schlafly Tap Room
Inspired by the beers of Wassail and warming mulled wines, Schlafly Christmas Ale is ideal for the Christmas season. The brew is crafted with orange peel, ginger root, cloves, and various other spices to add flavor complexity. Honey is added during the fermentation process, which raises the ABV in the sweetest way possible. It’s sure to warm you up in no time.
Snow Melt Winter Ale, East End Brewing Company
This Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania brew will have your insides melting in no time. Mahogany in color, the ale presents aromas of hazelnut and spice. Medium-bodied with a slight bite, the uniquely piney palate will have you tingling with holiday happiness.
Jubelale, Deschutes Brewery
This Oregon brew presents a dark brown color with hues of red. Strong aromas of allspice and toffee fill the nose, with a dry palate of coffee and chocolate. The slightly bitter finish is long-lasting and savory.
Fire Island Frozen Tail Ale, Fire Island Beer Company
Mahogany in color, this ale shows strong aromas of sweet malts and caramel. The brew is created with a blend of five various American and British hops, crafting a slightly bitter palate of toffee and slight fruit. Fantastically festive, Frozen Trail is a must try.
Christmas Ale, Sly Fox Brewing Company
This malty ale is brewed with classic mulling spices, creating a nose full of nutmeg and clove. The palate reflects the aromas, with a strong presence of allspice. As the brewery says, “if this one doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge.”
12 Dogs of Christmas Ale, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Produced with toasted and caramel malts, this Ohio brew is also mixed with honey, ginger, and nutmeg. Cinnamon aromas on the nose carry over to the palate, though nutmeg notes prevail. Medium-bodied and easy to drink, this beer pairs perfectly with ugly Christmas sweaters, worn by you and your furriest friends alike.