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5 winter beers to try this season

Celebration Food & Drinks Ideas & Tips Seasonal

As the seasons change, so does what we want out of a beer. Gone are the days of light, crisp lagers and wheaty hefeweizens — it's time for dark, heavy brews with seasonal ingredients and spices, perfect for drinking while warming your feet by the fireplace. Known as winter warmers, these beers have what it takes to stand up to the cold weather, namely, strong dark flavors and alcohol levels that are sure to keep you warm:

  • Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, 5.9% ABV, Boston, MA: Named for the generous and hospitable business owner in A Christmas Carol, this beer is chock full of dark, mildly sweet flavors such as chocolate and caramel, with a hint of cinnamon and what reviewers on Beeradvocate refer to as a "bready" or "earthy" flavor. 
  • Kasteel Winter, 11% ABV, Ingelmunster, Belgium: For those who prefer a more continental beer experience, this traditional Belgian strong ale packs a punch at 11 percent ABV while keeping a mild, creamy vanilla flavor.
  • Deschutes Jubelale, 6.7% ABV, Bend, OR: This Northwestern brew blends malty, leathery flavors with touches of fruit, such as cherry and plum. Unlike some winter ales, this beer is not overwhelmingly sweet.
  • Great Divide Hibernation Ale, 8.7% ABV, Denver, CO: This is a hoppier winter blend than some, with the hops contending with malty, roasted and fruity flavors for dominance. 
  • Bell's Winter White, 5% ABV, Kalamazoo, MI: A lighter brew than the others, this Belgian-style winter witbier has a touch of Midwestern charm, along with notes of wheat, spices and banana.

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