Winter Beers: Our Top 5 Picks

Beer & Cocktails, Drink

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.


Our Top 5 Winter Beers


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.

4 comments about “Winter Beers: Our Top 5 Picks

  1. 5 seasonal beers that are sure to bring out the holiday spirit | The Jax Beer Guy

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