When you think of beer in the winter your likely to think of robust porters, rich and malty doppelbocks, or the classic thick and heavy stouts. These are all fabulous styles of beer with a myriad of interpretations all across the country as many breweries seek to craft these fine brews for the winter months. While there are many people who enjoy these beers, there are many more who shun the darker styles working under the false assumption that every dark beer tastes like that Guinness they tried and didn’t like once. Guinness is only one variation on a style that had a very diverse range of flavors. However, as it is Guinness has a brand recognition as the defacto dark beer. This all contributes to the mindset that beer isn’t a good cold weather drink. Industry numbers back that up with there being a sharp decline in beer sales through the winter months. My first hand work at the brewery makes it obvious that even amongst many craft beer fans beer is something best consumed in warmer temperatures.
Of course myself and other dedicated beer fans disagree with this sentiment. Beer has such a wide range of flavors and diverse complexity that there are beers that go perfect with any ocassion. Those who are turned off by the dry, bitter roasted flavors of a Guinness may want to try something like the Chocolate Induldgance from Ommegang. It’s thick rich body helps to shake off the winter chills. The flavor is filled with a sweet roasty taste along with big fresh chocolate notes thanks to the fine Belgian chocolate used in the brewing. If chocolate isn’t your think might I suggest one if the many beers out there that have been aged in whiskey barrels. Ithaca Beer’s Old Habit has all the complexity of a fine bourbon with a nice smooth finish and a soothing warmth from the generous ABV. There are also some great malt bombs out there filled with delicious caramel sweetness and toasted flavors. I could go on and on, but you get the point. There’s a lot out there with trying and drinking all year round.
There is still a lot of education that needs to happen to elevate beer from it’s status as the blue collar drink meant for throwing back on a hot summers day. I experience this all the time a I’m on the front lines of beer education. So instead of mixing yourself another Manhattan or other such drink, stop down at your local brewery or fine beer store and try something new this winter.