Winter beer season has arrived! Winter ales, Belgian dark ales, German eisbocks, spiced lagers, and IPAs are all being stocked on beer shelves right now. The time for celebration is at hand and that means it’s time to drink some powerful (and very flavorful) brews as the snow falls and the Christmas lights go up.
So, what is a “winter” beer exactly? Well, it’s no one thing. The beers we’re featuring here are often referred to as “winter warmers” but even that covers a lot of different styles. Speaking generally, winter beers tend to be spicy, sweet, dark, malty, and high ABV. These can be classic ales or lagers and everything in between (for the most part). Candied fruits, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and sweet cracker malts are usually present but not always. As with almost all beer definitions, there will always be exceptions to any rule.
The ten bottles below offer a mix of domestic and international classics. Most of these beers should be fairly accessible across the nation, but some may lean more West Coast or East Coast in distribution. Still, now’s the time to start stocking up for the holidays with some great winter beer. There are a lot of family dinners, parties, holiday travel, and snowy days ahead and you’ll need a good beer in hand to get through it all.