Winter beer suggestions from our staff and contributors
21st Amendment Brewery|Fireside Chat
Gather around a crackling hearth this fall and winter and enjoy a few cans of Fireside Chat, a spiced winter ale from 21st Amendment Brewery. One of my favorite seasonal ales, this nearly-eight-percenter is full of chocolate malts, cocoa nibs and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Plus, in these trying electoral times, it’s reassuring to see old FDR’s likeness on the can, giving us all a little hope that things will turn out fine.
— Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer
Rogue Ales|Yellow Snow IPA
I love a good IPA every time of the year, but I think winter brings out my favorites. Yellow Snow IPA ranks around the top of the list, and I always seek out a 22-ounce bottle when the temperature drops. As the name suggests, this beer is a pale golden IPA that uses one variety of hops, Amarillo, that gives a very nice fruity aroma and flavor.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
Monk’s Café|Sour Flemish Ale
As our readers may already know, Monk’s Cafe is an iconic pub in Philadelphia and is well known for its Belgian/Sour beers. Sours aren’t always easy to find locally, but I’ve managed to discover this one at Frank’s Wine in Wilmington. Grab a four-pack and enjoy this sweet & tart brown ale on a chilly evening by the fire pit.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director/Production Manager
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales|Madrugada Obscura Dark Dawn Stout
The Madrugada Obscura is a tart imperial stout. It’s dark in color, sour tasting with malty, smoky, coffee qualities. If it sounds like something you’d hate, I bet you will. But if it sounds interesting, my advice is this: Pour it. Taste it. Get over the initial shock. Wait a few minutes and try again. You might find that it’s a little unusual but really delicious.
— Marie Graham Poot, Director of Digital Media & Distribution
Evolution Craft Brewing Company|Rise Up Stout
The Rise Up Stout has been a favorite among Out & About staffers for many years and for many reasons. Utilizing locally roasted beans from Rise Up Coffee in Easton, Md., the alchemists at Evolution merge the best of both worlds—beer and coffee—nailing the center of a Venn diagram connecting brew lovers and morning caffeine addicts. The harmonious results present bold roasted flavors that neither overpower nor disappoint. A perfect pint for happy hours during the wintry weeks to come.
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.|Celebration Ale
This is a decade-long holiday tradition for me. Celebration is one of the first examples of American-style IPA and was introduced to the public in 1981. Though each year’s batch tastes different, Sierra Nevada insists it has been using the same recipe since 1983. It’s simply the fact that the flavor of hops changes from year to year (in fact, from field to field), they say.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
Founders Brewing Company|Porter
Choosing a winter beer from so many full-bodied, cozy-by-the-fire options —Founders Breakfast Stout! Bell’s Best Brown Ale!—was difficult, but Founders Porter, like an oft-ignored younger kid growing up in a sibling’s shadow, was a great surprise. Unlike many other porters and stouts, its ABV isn’t too crazy at 6.5 percent. Not too bitter, not too sweet, and the robust flavors of chocolate and caramel are rich and satisfying to the last sip.
— Krista Connor, Associate Editor
2SP Brewing Company|Galactic Release
I recently tried this beer on a quick stop before heading out on a kayaking trip. I wanted something that was heavy enough to quench my thirst while taking a break from paddling, but light enough that I could enjoy it in the sun and keep going. This beer has easily become my favorite—pouring smooth with a bright ivory head, and balancing this really distinct blend of sweet and tart tastes.
— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer[/vc_column_text]