Winter Beer Styles | THE NIBBLE Blog - Adventures In The World Of Fine Food TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Beer Styles – THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food
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TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Beer Styles

Today is the first full day of winter, which begins late this evening (11:48 p.m. EST). It’s the shortest day of the year, with the least amount of daylight.

The good news is, starting tomorrow daylight hours will start getting longer. But there’s still plenty of time to celebrate winter with winter beers. They’re just waiting for you to pluck them from store shelves.

If you’re serving beer for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, make a special effort to pick some up. Even if your area has limited craft beer offerings, Samuel Adams has a Winter Lager that should be in every store that sells the brand.

Winter beers are brewed in the fall for winter release. Brewers work a season in advance, since it takes three months or so to assemble the special ingredients, brew the beer and let it mature before release.
 
WHY WINTER BEERS ARE DIFFERENT

Winter beers tend to be the strongest beers made by brewers. This follows the pattern of seasonal food and drink being heartier in the winter and lighter in the summer.

  • The color of winter beer is usually darker—cooper to deep amber hues—and the body is fuller.
  • There is often some winter spice seasoning, making the flavor more complex. This can range from the pumpkin pie spice group (allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg) to holiday flavors like ginger and molasses. They may even get some actual pumpkin tossed into the mash (identified as pumpkin beers and ales).
  • They are often higher in alcohol.
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    PARTY TIME

    Whether for holiday entertaining, a tasting party to brighten the January doldrums, Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine’s Day, you can put together an interesting assortment.

    Brad Smith of Beersmith advises these styles for the winter season:

  • Barley Wine*
  • Christmas/Winter Beer, Holiday Ales
  • Scotch Ale, Old Ale
  • Smoked Rauchbier
  • Stout, Porter and other dark beers
  • Winter Wheat and Bock Beers
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    Here’s one beer site’s recommendation of 24 top winter beers.

    See THE NIBBLE’s beer glossary for the different types of beer.

     

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    Winter Beer

     
    *Barley wine needs much longer than beer and ale—a year instead of three months. While barley wine may sound like it belongs in a warmer season, it is typically brewed ts an alcohol strength of 8% to 12% A.B.V. The word “wine” was bestowed because this range of alcohol is similar to wine. But as the name also says, it is made from barley, not fruit, so it is without doubt beer.

      




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