Hey guys, Gay Beer Club (GBC) founder, Andy, here with another update on the beer happenings around Beantown.
We are in the Dead of winter, my friends, but that’s no reason to despair. The best way to battle burrrrrr is with great craft beerrrrrr! And Winter Beers are some of the best of the year…so I figured it’d be a great time to get together with some Gay Beer Club (GBC) samplers to check out what is available at your local, hopefully well stocked, Beer Emporium.
Winter Beers, just like good friends and family, come in vast array of colors and flavors. As we were lining up our sample glasses, this foray into frosty brews reminded me of the many colors in my family’s fire pit on Christmas Eve. The beers had many shades of red, orange, burnt caramel and dark brown. So make some time to huddle up with friends and get into any or all of these amazing beers with a roaring flame…and hell, if you’re missing the flame, drop me a line! What? I like to get out, what’s wrong with that??? Cabin fever is fo’ real.
So with no further adieu, here is a rundown of some great Winter Beers:
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. , California: 6.8% ABV
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is the perfect addition to any gathering this winter. It is an American Style IPA which makes it more flavorful then a traditional IPA. Celebration is orange in color with a slight haze and a floral hoppy nose. Sierra Nevada Celebration has a warmth to it that leaves you very satisfied and take the bite out of the bitter cold. We highly recommend this beer to all beer enthusiasts…and in the immortal words of Kool and the Gang, “Celebration Ale, Come On!” Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…Ya-Hoo!
For my fellow Beer Bears out there who prefer maltier beers, these next few are for you and all brewed right here in New England:
Winter Oatmeal Stout, Mayflower Brewing Company, Massachusetts: 6.0% ABV
May Flower Oatmeal Stout has quickly become a permanent resident of my fridge after this tasting. It is a full bodied beer with a delicious nose with hints of bakers chocolate and smokey roasted oats. Most beers on the darker side don’t have a nose as appealing as this. Each chocolaty sip of Mayflower’s Oatmeal Stout invites the next with a smooth malty deliciousness perfect for cold.
Ipswich Winter Ale, Mercury Brewing Company, Massachusetts: 6.2% ABV
We were all pleasantly surprised by Ipswich Winter Ale at first taste because none of us knew what to expect from an Old Ale. Its murky reddish-brown color looks unfiltered and fits perfect with the Old Ale motif. With a slightly sweet nose and lingering notes of carmel and toffee, this may be the best candy bar you’ve ever had without an overbearing sweet finish. Tasters also reported black cherry and other dark fruits from this crowd pleaser. Ipswich Winter Ale is another amazing offering from the reliably remarkable Ipswich brewers.
Hibernator, Long Trail Brewing Company, Vermont: 5.6% ABV
Long Trail Hibernator has been in my personal rotation since Thanksgiving. It’s a Scotch Ale which means delicious maltiness from a hefty grain bill and extended brewing process. It’s hazy and amber with a surprising hoppiness in the nose, but after that it’s all smooth malty goodness. Nothing tart-an about this sweet beer and a couple of peeks under this Scotch Ale’s kilt will have you off-kilter. It even has a Bear sitting in front of a fireplace on the label…if that isn’t screaming “Calling Beer Bears” I don’t know what is.
For our Beer Twinks who are just starting on the road to becoming more ex-beerienced, don’t worry these next couple are for you:
Wachusett Winter Ale, Westminster, Mass 6.1% ABV
Wachusett Winter Ale is also a Scotch ale but with a completely different flavor and appearance. Wachusett Winter Ale is bright and orange, no haze at all. It has a sweet cherry candy nose that gives it a sweet cherry taste. Think Luden’s cough drops but, obviously, better and perfect for the winter cold season. Wachusett Winter Ale has a smooth sweet maltiness that is lighter than its Long Trail counterpart. A perfect winter beer and another distinct Wachusett ale that deserves all the love we often give it.
Harpoon Winter Warmer, Harpoon Brewery, Massachusetts 5.5% ABV
We wouldn’t be a Boston-based beer club without a Harpoon on our list. And you can’t talk Winter Beers without Harpoon Winter Warmer, a Boston institution. Bright and burnt orange in color, this medium-bodied beer infused with winter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg is a treat we look forward to all year. Harpoon Winter Warmer is festive and dessert-ish but it can quickly morph into a session beer. If these beers are your winter wardrobe, Harpoon Winter Warmer is your favorite sweater.
In Summation: A wonderful beer tasting experience. The GBC would love your input on whatever winter beers you’ve been enjoying. And drop us a note if you’re interested in taking part in future GBC tasting panels. Until then, enjoy your own winter beer sampling and we look forward to seeing you Sunday nights at Cambridge Brewing Company for GBC at the CBC.
As Always, Beer Proud!