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 Aleâ€”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 â€śhibernateâ€ť for a year if you really want to taste it at its best.
Winter Beer 2011â€”Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh, Scotland
Innis & Gunn is the largest independent brewery in Scotland, but they treat their brews with the utmost care and attention. Youâ€™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 youâ€™ll be snug as can be.
Winter Welcome Aleâ€”Samuel Smith, Yorkshire, England
Established in 1758, Sam Smithâ€™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 Choseâ€”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 Bockâ€”Mahrs BrĂ¤u, 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, youâ€™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 NoĂ«l 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 Americaâ€™s beer capital, Denver, remember that Excellent Hotels offers over 35,000 select properties at the guaranteed lowest rate.
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