Bartenders Tell Us The Best Beers To Drink On ‘The Worst Day Of The Year’

Astrologers refer to today as “The worst day of the year.” And this isn’t even because today, the Winter Solstice, is the shortest day of the year. A day filled with much less daylight than any other day. But, the bleakness or winter and the lack of sunlight isn’t the only thing that is going to potentially bum you out today. According to Newsweek, British Astrologer Neil Spencer believes that today will not be your day and it’s all Saturn’s fault.

Don’t understand? Well, according to Spencer, the sun and Saturn will pass in front of the constellation of Capricorn. This will usher in a “dominance of Capricorn” (whatever that means) which will make your whole day a frustrating mess. Whether that’s true or not, the best way to avoid a real bummer of a day is to enjoy a beer (or three). Luckily for you, bartenders all across the country agree with you. That’s why we asked them to tell us their favorite beers to drink on the darkest, shortest, and apparently “worst” day of them all.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout

Megan Ardizoni, beverage director at VANDAL in New York City

“Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout! It’s a stout beer brewed with coffee and aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. It’s luscious complexity and notes of dark-roasted nuts, caramel, and toffee is exactly what I want to warm up on a Winter Night. Preferably alongside something that’s dark chocolate.”

Four Peaks Kilt Lifter

Casey Lyons, lead bartender at Pacific Hideaway in Huntington Beach, California

“I love a good Scottish Red, Kilt Lifter from Four Peaks in Tempe, AZ is the gold standard for me. Not to mention their seasonal Pumpkin Porter, which might be PSL Heaven.”

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Roman Tartakovsky, beverage director at Pier 81 in New York City

“My go to has to be a nice Pumpkin Ale by Schlafly. The American Ale has a bright copper color, and a great rich malty flavor rounded out by pumpkin and a hint of gingerbread. It reminds me of the smell of my mother baking pumpkin ginger snaps when I was little.”


Mike Jones, head bartender at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago

“Guinness, or something comparable. I like a stout or porter in the winter. They offer a little more back bone and seem to sit a little heavier, which is comforting.”

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Natasha David, beverage director at Nitecap in New York City

“I just discovered Sam Adams Winter Lager which has all these beautiful, full cinnamon and orange notes. It’s perfect for sitting in front of a fireplace with some wool socks and friends.”

Founders Breakfast Stout

Johnny Livanos, bar program director at Ousia in Hell’s Kitchen

“On a cold winter night, nothing warms my soul more than a delicious stout or porter. I love the Founders Breakfast Stout, which was previously a winter seasonal and is now an all-year beer. My uncle has a bottle of the Sam Adams Utopia which is also fantastic on a warm winter night. It’s technically not really a beer and drinks more like a sherry or port, but warms the stomach on its way down.”

5 Rabbit Cerveceria 5 Vulture

Tomas van den Boomgaard, beverage manager at Travelle Kitchen + Bar in Chicago

“Dark beer such as the 5 Vulture from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, which has complex caramel aromas with toasted sugar notes and a long, elegant, spicy finish. Roasted ancho chile is used to add depth and complexity.”

Lost Abbey Angel’s Share

Jason Kirmse, partner at Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group in San Francisco

“There aren’t too many days that I crave a barley wine but the colder it gets the more appealing this style becomes. The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share is a good place to start, pour into a gigantic brandy snifter, light a fire, and enjoy.”

Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter

Sean Ward, lead bartender at OB Surf Lodge in San Diego

“On a cold winter night, I typically crave something dark and rich. My two go-to beers during the wintertime are four peaks pumpkin porter and hardy woods gingerbread stout. Call me basic but either one of those beers bring out my inner white girl.”

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Jim Meehan, founder of Prairie School in Chicago

“Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.” What else needs to be said?

Triple C Baby Maker Double IPA

Sean Potter, director of food and drink at Stoke in Charlotte

“I love the Triple C Baby Maker Double IPA. It makes me feel all warm inside. And why not have whiskey with it!”

Red Stripe

TJ Annese, bartender at Ani Ramen House in Jersey City, NJ

“Red Stripe Jamaican Lager. Nothing fancy. Just something to remind me of warmer times.”