Top Five Winter Beers Around the World

The frosty winter season does not usually evoke visions of cracking open a cold one by the crackling hearth, but winter beer can actually be very cozy and warming. Around the world, breweries concoct special winter recipes that will warm you from the inside out with their festive spices like orange and clove, smooth maltiness and rich flavor profiles. Pick your favorite from this world wide list and sip it at a temperate 50 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum flavor and minimal cold fingers.

Hibernation Ale—Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, Colorado.
This English style old ale has a dark, reddish brown hue that echos the sweet and spicy flavors. Chocolate, with a hint of mint (think Andes candies), meshes with complex bitterness and sweet, caramelized fruitiness. Leave this one to “hibernate” for a year if you really want to taste it at its best.

Winter Beer 2011—Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh, Scotland
Innis & Gunn is the largest independent brewery in Scotland, but they treat their brews with the utmost care and attention. You’ll want to savor this beauty of an amber with its vanilla and orange zest notes. Aged in oak casks, this beer truly has a unique dimension to it. Sip it with roast pork or lamb and you’ll be snug as can be.

Winter Welcome Ale—Samuel Smith, Yorkshire, England
Established in 1758, Sam Smith’s brewery is renowned for its old school brewing methods. No fancy technology here, just simply crafted, decadent maltiness, balanced by slightly herbal hoppiness. The collectible Winter Welcome is easy to drink by all and perfect for a casual accompaniment to roast turkey, ham or roast beef.

Quelque Chose—UniBroue, Chambly, Quebec
This unique brew will warm you literally and figuratively. Going against all the rules, this beer is heated like mulled wine, and is best enjoyed as an aperitif alongside a toasty fireplace. Smelling of ripe cherries, honey, cinnamon and vanilla, this tart and spicy blend of Belgian kriek and brown ale will actually give you a surprisingly fine buzz.

Christmas Bock—Mahrs Bräu, Bamberg, Germany
Not surprisingly, the Germans brew an amazing full-bodied, holiday specialty. Dark and not too sweet, this bock is unfiltered and complex. A bright amber color, you’ll notice the toffee and caramel notes as you sip away under the mistle-toe.

Other very honorable mentions to seek out this winter are La Choulette Noël from France, Samichlaus from Austria, Wintertraum from Germany and Aas Jubel, hailing all the way from Norway. Try these brews for a cozy dose of unconventional winter warmth this season.

Whether you trek to a hotel in the UK to taste the hoppy goodness or around the globe to America’s beer capital, Denver, remember that Excellent Hotels offers over 35,000 select properties at the guaranteed lowest rate.

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