In the latest edition of the Beer Buzz a few of our beer consultants rave about their favorite winter seasonals.
Roger Adamson, Binny’s Willowbrook
Unlike many other winter ales, Smuttynose Winter Ale is not brewed with any spices. Its gentle spicy character is the product of the unique Trappist ale yeast used to create this flavorful brew. Stylistically it closely resembles a Belgian Dubbel with fruity aromas and a beautiful richness derived from the use of five different specialty malts and Dark Belgian Candi Syrup. Amidst a category filled with spicy strong ales, at 5.8% abv Smuttynose Winter Ale proves that you can have both complexity and sessionability.
Peter Sorgatz, Binny’s Glen Ellyn
Take a break from the spiced beers and winter warmers, and try out an old ale. Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale boasts a wonderful coffee roastness, along with toffee and caramel. At 8.5 abv%, this beer is perfect for a cold winter night.
Austin Niestrom, Binny’s Naperville
My favorite winter seasonal this year thus far is the Magnetron by Metropolitan Brewing Company. It is a very impressive Schwartzbier and a perfect winter lager. The roasted malt deliciously contributes to this more full bodied lager. It is a nutty, roasty, and an easy drinking dark beer.
Jon Snowdon, Binny’s Plainfield
Simply put, it is one of the best Imperial Stouts available during the winter season. A combination of dark fruits, coffee, licorice, and dark chocolate work together to create this exceptional brew. At 10.5% abv it also boasts enough of a kick to warm you up during the colder months. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys darker beers.
Nick Gallachio, Binny’s Bolingbrook
Pours almost jet black with hints of roasty dark chocolate and some vanilla on the nose. Saugatuck really does a great job of capturing the aroma of a melted bowl of ice cream. The initial taste is big and robust with a creamy texture, however on the finish, the strawberry and vanilla really pop out. It is the perfect desert beer and would go great poured over some vanilla ice cream!
Anthony Gerdt, Binny’s Glen Ellyn
I can only handle so many cinnamon, ginger and clove spiced beers before I start to lose my Christmas spirit. That’s where Sixpoint’s Global Warmer comes in, with it’s bright, citrusy and earthy hop aroma, refreshing orange peel hop flavor and lingering bitterness. This straight-forward hoppy amber ale refreshes the palate, as well as my cheerfulness… Bring on the roasted almonds, mulled wine, and Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas Album.
Steve Enders, Binny’s Naperville
I look forward to this release every year. Dark candy sugar flavor with a bit of spice from the yeast, to go along with 10% abv makes this beer my go to winter warmer. This beer does good with a little bit of time in the cellar too.
Kyle Fornek, Binny’s Willowbrook
Instead of wet-hopping an IPA or pale ale like most breweries do, Boulevard uses their allotment of freshly harvested Chinook hops in their Christmas beer. The beer is a deep mahogany color, and heartier in every way possible when juxtaposed with a traditional amber ale. The addition of molasses keeps the bitterness in check, resulting in a deliciously balanced winter warmer.