When it comes to cozying up inside, we look to steaming mugs of hot toddies, deep red wines — and beer! Rich, hearty beers hit the spot this time of year. We asked our beer expert Jason Henry for the best styles to look for, along with a few of his favorite picks.
Imperial Stout: These are complex, rich beers with a pitch-black color, thick mouthfeel and warming alcohol presence. A deeply roasted malt character adds notes of bittersweet chocolate and strong coffee.
American Barleywine: This is a deep copper-colored beer dominated by a heavy, caramel malt character. It’s rich and intense, balanced by aggressive hops with citrusy American varietals.
Belgian Dark Strong Ale: Dark amber in color, this brew has a fruity, yeasty quality that brings to mind raisins, figs and prunes. It’s rounded out by notes of rich toffee.
Winter Spiced Ales: Ranging from light amber to dark brown in hue, these beers allow for a range of creative additions — some have flavors of mulling spices, gingerbread or spruce tips. They tend to taste nutty and toasty with a warming finish.
German Doppelbock: This dark lager is known for its toasty malt flavors and rustic, bready notes. The beers can display fruity or chocolatey characteristics without a trace of hops.
|North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout|
This brew pours like motor oil into a glass. Aromatic qualities of anise, coffee, and baker’s chocolate come to the forefront. Roasted malt dominates the flavor, supported by notes of chicory.
Pair it: Sip this brew with a hearty beef stew and a wedge of blue cheese.
|Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine|
A classic example of the American Barleywine style, this beer has a reddish-brown hue and fruity nose. Strong malt flavors of caramel and biscuit are offset by citrusy hops, creating a bittersweet experience.
Pair It: This beer is the perfect complement to roasted root vegetables and sticky toffee pudding.
|St. Bernardus Abt 12|
This rich brown beer boasts 10.5% ABV. A true Belgian classic, it smells like plums and tastes like stewed fruits drizzled with caramel.
Pair It: Enjoy this pick with fruitcake, mincemeat pie, or roasted lamb.
|Dogfish Head Chicory Stout|
This dark beer is brewed with licorice root, coffee, and roasted chicory. Notes of slightly burnt molasses complement flavors of coffee beans and anise.
Pair It: Drink with a coffee-rubbed pork shoulder or pecan pie baked with Mexican chocolate.
|Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock|
Here, grainy bread character and a whiff of smoke support flavors of roasted nuts and toffee.
Pair It: Serve this brew with a potato gratin or a savory rye bread pudding.