Nothing satisfies quite like slinging back a cold one. And whether you like your beer light or dark, you can’t deny that a good brew will warm you up on a chilly night. So celebrate the season with one of these delicious beers, recommended by The Beer Sommelier himself, Matt Simpson.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
This American red ale has been released every winter for decades now. It has a citrusy, floral and piney hop aroma and flavor, plus a nice malt backbone. (And it keeps die-hard fans looking forward to it every year.) It pairs well with sharp cheeses or spicy foods.
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High Point Ramstein Winter Wheat
This German weizenbock-style ale is made by a small brewery in New Jersey and is one of Simpson’s favorite winter seasonals (meaning if you’re near New Jersey, try it!). The yeast gives off big notes of spices (mostly clove and peppercorn) and fruits (like apple and light banana). The wheat allows for a huge, creamy head (the frothy foam that sits on top of the beer). It pairs well with roasted and fatty meats, like sausage or salami.
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An imperial IPA at its finest, this beer is rich, hoppy and strong. The sister beer to AleSmith's July release offering, this one is darker in color, and very floral and spicy in hop character, but has a boatload of malt to really add balance. It’s great with all kinds of cheese (break out the platter!) or spicy buffalo wings.
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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Huge coffee and chocolate notes abound in this imperial stout. And at about 10.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), you'll want to share! Try this with anything chocolate: cake, brownies, cookies or even dark chocolate.
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Captain Lawrence Nor' Easter Winter Warmer
Almost as unusual as it is delicious, this is a strong winter ale. Brewed with elderberries and aged in bourbon barrels, this beer is 12 percent ABV (making it a big contender for “warming you up” and certainly not for the faint of heart!). Complex and malty, it's meant to be savored while you’re sitting by the fireplace. This beer is best alone -- try it fordessert!
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Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
This brew is a prime example of a spicy American winter ale, with notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, and it even has a bit of a citrus flavor. Balanced by bready, chocolaty malts, this beer's not too heavy or strong. Try it with a soft pretzel, a burger or some cheese.
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What are your favorite winter beers?
Nestpert: Matt Simpson, aka “The Beer Sommelier,” is a craft beer consultant and pens the Ask Beer column for Beer magazine. TheBeerExpert.com