Life

Bartender-Approved Warming Beers To Keep The Winter Months Toasty

Regardless of where you live, you’re going to need something (usually in beer or whiskey form) to help you warm up on those bone-chilling winter days. What constitutes “bone-chilling” depends on where you reside, of course. If you’re located in San Diego, a day with a high of 50 might be enough for you to bundle up from head to toe. A denizen of Buffalo might feel the same way when thick, blinding snow is cascading down and the temperature dips below 10.

Either way, both of these cold-weather stalwarts require a warming beverage at the end of the day. And since we write about whiskey almost every damn day, we’re focusing on beer this time around.

“The best winter warmer be for me is a Schwarzbier,” says Tyra Demarest, bartender at V Lounge in Solvang, California. “It’s dark as a stout like a Guinness, but the difference would be that it’s not necessarily brewed like a stout — so there’s not much thickness to it. It’s brewed like an ale with dark, rich hints of chocolate. You might get some vanilla in there and in the very, very distant back of your palate you’ll get currants as well.”

If that doesn’t sound like your vibe, we asked 16 more bartenders for their picks, too. Check the beers they shouted out below.

Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Stout

Belching Beaver

Jerry Skakun, bartender at Cucina Enoteca in Newport Beach, California

If we are talking warm beers, anything Irish or German would be awesome, if we are talking a beer to opt for that warming sensation, I would say Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Stout. Throw some vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche in the pint glass — it’s the ultimate game-changer.

Spaten Optimator

Spaten

Christopher Wright, bartender at Don Camillo Tuscan Cuisine in Corinth, Texas

While not labeled a winter warmer, in particular, my favorite beer to enjoy during the colder months is the Spaten Optimator doppelbock. Do keep in mind that this delicious beverage carries a 7.6 % ABV, so it is best enjoyed where and when no travel is required.

The Spaten Optimator carries all the malty and spicy traits which you would expect from a winter warmer, making this my personal recommendation for the category.

Westbrook Mexican Cake

Westbrook

Allen Lancaster, master cocktail craftsman at The Bar at The Spectator Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina

Westbrook Brewing Mexican Cake is a must-have for me. Cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and habanero pepper make it the perfect choice for a winter warmer that hugs you from the inside.

Hitachino Nest Weizen

Hitachino

Ilan Chartor, head bartender at MILA in Miami

I like Hitachino Nest Weizen. It’s a German-style Hefeweizen inspired Japanese Beer. It has notes of orange, vanilla, banana, and clove, making it a great winter beer.

Bristol Winter Warlock

Bristol

Anastacio Garcia Liley, USBG bartender in Colorado Springs, Colorado

I love Winter Warlock from Bristol Brewery. It’s a drier, toasty flavor profile that makes you wish you were out camping with a nice cold bottle by the fire.

Wicked Weed Milk & Cookies

Wicked Weed

Kirstin Sabik, mixologist at Sneaky Tiki in Pensacola, Florida

Wicked Weed Milk & Cookies feels like coming home for the holidays. Sitting around the kitchen with family and friends protected from the winter chill, this one warms the heart and soul. What flavors make it great? Sweet vanilla, oatmeal, and cinnamon and raisin cookies, just like grandma used to make.

Fat Bottom Knockout IPA

Fat Bottom

Kimberly Basnight, lead bartender at Fins Bar in Nashville

One of my favorite winter warmer beer would be Fat Bottom Knockout IPA because of its unique flavors, hops to keep you warm, and a hint of grapefruit.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Samuel Adams

Una Green, USBG bartender in Los Angeles

I’m originally from Boston and have been living in LA now for almost twelve years. Around the holidays, and especially 2020 and not being able to travel, I get very nostalgic and sentimental. So I usually reach for a six-pack of the Sam Adams seasonal beers, like the brand’s Winter Lager.

Delirium Noel

Brouwerij Huyghe

Sire Negri, lead mixologist at Havana Beach Bar & Grill, located at The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, Florida

‘Tis the season for Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Noel. This seasonal release from Brouwerij Huyghe only comes out once a year. This Belgian Strong Ale has strong notes of banana bread, caramel, and seasonal spice. Clocking in at a hefty 10% ABV, Delirium Noel is a wonderful treat.

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Ommegang

Stephen Lasaten, food and beverage manager at The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands

Ommegang Three Philosophers. With its high alcohol content, fruity and chocolaty aromas will give you the feeling of relaxing next to a campfire.

Enjoy this in moderation and it’ll make for a smooth and warm night.

21st Amendment Fireside Chat

21st Amendment

Michele Gargiulo, front of house manager and sommelier at Hampton’s Restaurant in Sumter, South Carolina

21st Amendment Fireside Chat is a great winter beer. English style-ale, it tastes like chocolate and baking spices. Cardamom, allspice, and clove are all soft presences in the background.

It is great for warming you up on a cold winter day, while sitting near the fireplace.

Breckenridge Holidale

Breckenridge

Andres Rairan, lead bartender at Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel’s The Social Club in Miami

Holidale from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado has to be one of my favorite winter beers. The ABV on this bad boy is in the double digits, so you will def warm up even after one of these. The dark, red-caramel hue on this beer makes for such a beautiful beer — drink out of a nice room temperature glass and it goes down smooth, thanks to its whiskey barrel finish.

This limited series is one I always look forward to around this time of year.

Brooklyn Winter Ale

Brooklyn

Jane Danger, national mixologist for Pernod-Ricard USA

When I want a beer on the lighter side, I really enjoy the Brooklyn Winter Ale. It is a Scottish Style Ale that has notes of coffee, malt, chocolate, rum raisin cake with a bitter citrus bite at the end. If you want to go more traditional look to the 21st Amendment Brewery, Fireside Chat. It’s a great winter ale with spices, not the other way around.

If you don’t have a fireside to sit by this will make you feel like you do. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar toast you up all over.

Deschutes Jubelale

Deschutes

Joan Percival, USBG bartender in Omaha, Nebraska

Jubelale from Deschutes is awesome for winter warming. It has a nice bit of allspice without being too sweet. Pretty much a perfect winter beer.

Writer’s Pick:

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Harpoon

This beer literally has the words “winter warmer” in its name. You know what you’re getting into when you crack one of these open. This 5.9% ABV warming, rich beer is filled with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and winter spices. Mix it with Harpoons hard cider and you’ve got a real warming drink that tastes just like an apple pie.

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