Winter is Coming – Seasonal Beer Releases Hit Shelves

November 12th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Beer Releases

Winter is coming. If you watch Game of Thrones, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you probably just love seasonal winter beer releases if you are reading this.

While the first official day of winter isn’t actually until December 22, seasonal beers started hitting shelves over a month ago in some cases. They are really starting to show up in widespread volume in the past week or so, though. I love this time of year. The change in weather really does make me want to drink maltier, more complex beers.

While winter seasonals can really be any style, a traditional “winter warmer” here in the Northwest typically features malt over hops, often with a darker, sweeter flavor profile. But, in the hop-crazed times we live in these days, many winter seasonals feature the hops just as much as the malts, often in a complex profile that is more interesting than your average IPA.

I’ve had several seasonal winter releases show up in my fridge lately. A few of them are detailed below. In addition to these, there are seemingly endless examples from local breweries.  A few of my favorites include Big Al Winter Warmer, Fremont Bonfire, Schooner Exact Hoppy Holidays and Silver City Old Scrooge. In case you missed it, a great place to try a bunch of winter seasonals from Washington breweries at once is the upcoming Winter Beer Fest.

Winter Seasonals (With descriptions from the breweries):

Redhook Winterhook – “Winterhook is the perfect beer to keep warm during cold months after shoveling snow, shredding some powder,  or playing hooky to can catch the game. Since it was first brewed, Redhook’s Winterhook has changed slightly each year to celebrate the season and keep everyone on their toes. After all, no one likes getting the same gift twice. The 30th version of Winterhook brewed for this year offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry hopped brew, making this year’s winter ale slightly naughty and very nice.”

Ommegang Lovely, Dark and Deep – “Lovely, Dark and Deep, an oatmeal stout, is set to reach retail in early November…pours deep black with a tan, creamy mousse-like head. Aromas of roasted malt and coffee with cream, coupled with subtle notes of chocolate and dark fruit from Ommegang’s house yeast prevail. Flavors of rich chocolate milk, and coffee and cream are impeccably balanced with restrained sweetness and hints of roastiness. The finish is silky smooth with a medium to full body.”

Deschutes Jubelale – “Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold winter ale. Intriguing, layered flavors unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. The deep garnet color pairs perfectly with holiday celebrations.”

Sierra Nevada Celebration – “The start of Celebration season is a festive event. We can’t start brewing until the first fresh hops have arrived, but once they have the season is officially under way! First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.”

Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale – “This mythological beer emerges from the depths of our brewery every winter. Made with organic Northwest hops and organic malt, Abominable has a complex floral, spicy, and citrus hoppiness backed up by just the right amount of malt sweetness. Don’t turn your back on the beast!”

Alaskan Winter Ale – “Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.”

Disclaimer: All of the beers featured here were submitted by the breweries free of charge. That said, I would not feature them here if I did not deem them worthy.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Jim

    I like Winter beers. In my opinion the two best are Snoqualmie Brewing Avalanche Ale; and Fremont Brewing Abominable Ale.

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