Endless Beer: Top 10 Beers of Winter

Happy New Year, folks. Time to pretend that you’ll hold to those healthy resolutions and become a “better you.” I’m right there with you, as the fiance and I try out “clean eating” for a while. Except for beers — I will NOT stop drinking beers. Which is why I bring you our top ten winter beers of the season. Note that even though Christmas is behind us, those tasty Christmas brews are still available as well as the special winter seasonals. Get ’em while you can. Here ya go:

10. Sly Fox Christmas Ale

ABV: 5.5% (canned), 6.5% (bottled)

A leader in the beer canning industry, Sly Fox offers their annual Christmas ale. The ale is a very “spiced forward” brew with Cinnamon and Ginger at the forefront. Flavors of clove continue throughout, complementing a sweet malty flavor.

9. Victory Winter Cheers

ABV: 6.7%

For those of you that don’t enjoy a winter warmer or strongly spiced ale, the Winter Cheers is a tasty and sweet wheat that takes away some of the booze flavor associated with winter warmers.


8. Deschutes Brewery Jubelale

ABV: 6.7%

Jubelale includes the traditional Christmas spices, but then has a pleasant sweetness of caramel and toffee with fruity flavors of cherry and raisin. The award-winning brew is a solid warmer that gives you a nice warm feeling all the way down. A great brew for after a hard day’s work on the slopes.



7. Ommegang Adoration Ale

ABV: 10%

This winter brew is a sipper. Weighing in at 10% ABV, Adoration provides a sweet flavor associated with desserts after Christmas dinner.The fruity and spicy flavors carry through the sip followed by a pleasant yet strong boozy finish. Two of these will kick your ass just enough to finish the night off right.

Smooth caramel and dark chocolate notes make Full Sail Brewing Company's Wassail Winter Ale a seasonal standout

6. Full Sail Wassail

ABV: 7.2%

Get this one soon before it’s off the shelves. The Wassail is a winter warmer amp’d up on malt flavors. The dark malty characteristics offer a pleasant caramel flavor and a good kick in the pants!


5. Summit Winter Ale

ABV: 6.2%

The Summit winter ale offers more coffee and nutty flavor than a fruit and spice flavor. The roasted and dark malts are complemented by earthy hops, resulting in a dark ale with a pleasant sweet and bitter flavor.

4. Sierra Nevada Boomerang IPA

ABV: 6.7 %

Sierra Nevada released their Snow Pack this year. In addition to their flagship pale ale, the pack also included a coffee stout, porter, and the Boomerang IPA. The Boomerang IPA was my favorite out of the pack and may be my favorite winter IPA this year.  The IPA contains the traditional west coast hop-forward flavor with a refreshingly light and sweet flavor.

3. Great Divide Hibernation Ale

ABV: 8.7%

Great Divide did a great job on the Hibernation Ale. I offered this to last year’s beer exchange and it was a favorite among the picks. The Hibernation Ale stays true to style in terms of winter warmers. Until….you get the dry-hopped flavors and aromas that add a new layer of flavors. YUM.


2. Tommyknocker Butthead Bock Lager

ABV: 8%

YIKES. A Bock Lager. That means a dark, boozey, kick-your-ass, lager. Lagers are traditionally winter brews to begin with, so why not boost the ABV content, make it sweet with caramel flavors and make a different kind of lager? This is a brew that could easily replace your night cap.

Agave Wheat Colorado Craft Beer

1. Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale

ABV: 7.4%

The Breckenridge Christmas ale offers a dark winter warmer with boozy notes along with tastes of chocolate and coffee. The sweetness of the malts along with the roasted flavors create a nice balance of bitterness to sweetness.

Honorable Mention(s):

Troegs Mad Elf

ABV: 11 %

Troegs challenges you to have more than one pint of this ruby red liquid Christmas. It is tradition that I have at least one of these before the winter season is over. The sweetness and warming feel of the brew reminds you that winter is indeed here. Even on the coldest night, this will warm you up for sure. AND relax you quite a bit.

Anchor Christmas Celebration Ale 2014

ABV: 5.5%

My second tradition is to have at least one bottle of Anchor Celebration Ale. A new tradition is to cellar the current year and compare to the next. The trouble is making sure I don’t drink the one that I’m cellaring! Cheers.

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