Craft On Tap: Making The Ultimate Winter 6-Pack
As winter breathes down our necks and the Holidays in full swing, many of us may turn to beer to relax with all our time off from work. In an ongoing mission to guide you in a beer-Jedi-sort-of-way, I’ve compiled another list to make a “custom 6 pack” of winter beers (unlike most six-packs this will list a few bombers as well). As before, I am a strong believer in supporting your local craft brewery, so above all, this should definitely be a companion to drinking the local stuff.
Like the autumn column, there’s 3 key stipulations/things to disclose about the selection process:
The beers have been tasted (there’s so much beer, so little time/body limitations to try them all…plus it’d be bullshit to rattle off beers that we didn’t try first). So in other words “duh!”
- The beers can be found in stores (there’s plenty of breweries that are “on-tap only” that I’m fiercely loyal to, but unless you live near us, this list won’t help you out much, plus it isn’t designed to provoke a “I have better places to drink than you” pissing contest), so these can hopefully be found in your local stores as well.
- The beer is distributed to Colorado. That’s where I’m located and hence where I buy my beer. This stipulation also obviously mirrors stipulation number 1. There’s plenty that I tried at the Great American Beer Festival and wish that came this way (I’m looking at you 3 Floyds, Sun King, Cigar City, Jester King, Heavy Seas and Brooklyn Brewery!!) Needless to say, I’m sure there are possibly some blasphemous omissions from the following lists, but there’s also a very good chance that it hasn’t been tried or made available out here. Plus you can sound off below in the comments!
Anyway onward to the beer!
New Belgium Frambozen- This represents a perfect Christmas beer. In the last few years it’s been every bit a part of Christmas tradition for me to rotate this offering. This raspberry brown ale is very much my favorite winter seasonal beer, I typically get sad when spring approaches and this disappears. But here’s hoping much like Frosty the Snowman, it’ll be back someday (preferably next winter once the supply runs out)!
Sam Adams Merry Mischief- Dark and gingerbread-y, this is a fun beer to bust out in the winter. The winter spices of cloves, cinnamon, et all really comes through in a smooth way. Definitely worth snagging this holiday season.
Great Divide Hibernation Ale- Winter is depressing despite having awesome holidays. However, this old ale is perfect for a day of just sitting indoors waiting for the snow to let up. I discovered at a beer dinner a few years back at a local craft beer bar that this beer actually tastes better after it’s aged a year….it’s worth trying if you can restrain for that long.
Oscar Blues Ten-Fidy- While I have the highest level of respect for Oskar Blues being the first craft brewer to can their beers, I have to admit that their flagship Dales Pale Ale isn’t my usual go-to beer. However, I found a way to fully give them my attention and that’s with Ten-Fidy! This is a Russian Imperial Stout in a can!!! At 10ish percent ABV, this little can packs quite a punch! When the days are shortened with winter you should really be drinking a beer as dark as the night.
Shiner Cheer– Back in my college era, Shiner was consumed many times by myself and my friends in whatever hole-in-the-wall hotel bar or darkened pub-ish setting we would congregate to . It was a staple for us in those formative years and even today when I make a trip back to my home state and meet up with old friends, we usually get a few pitchers for old times sake. Their Christmas ale combines two of Texas’ best ingredients: Peaches and pecans! This Christmas-y dunkle is a great beer to enjoy this winter.
****BONUS!!*** Copper Kettle Mexican Chocolate Stout- OK, this is 100% a cheat to the rules, but I love this little brewery in Denver. They’ve started releasing their flagship beers around the city in bombers. Hopefully as time passes they can extend their reach. The beer is a nice spicy hot chocolate drink in beer form. which makes it perfect for the snowy days and sitting by the fireplace….I miss having a fireplace 🙁
Hopefully this helps you assemble a lineup to get you through the holidays. This column will return in the spring. In the meantime, later this week we’ll take a look back at 2013 with the annual Best/Worst lists!
Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals!