Ten Winter Ales Ranked/ A Night of Bad Beers

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Just before Thanksgiving, Paste Magazine online posted a List of the Day of their picks for the top ten Winter Ales. Before this list was published I had not really had any encournters or recollections about Winter Ales, but their list made me want to give them a try. Here is Paste Magazine's list of the top 10 Winter Ales:

  1. Great Divide Hibernation
  2. Samuel Smith Winter Welcome
  3. Bell's Hell Hath No Fury 
  4. Nøgne Ø Winter Ale
  5. Heavy Seas Winter Storm Category 5 Ale
  6. Ommegang Adoration Special Winter Ale
  7. Brooklyn Winter Ale
  8. Red Brick Old Stock
  9. New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale
  10.  Harpoon Winter Warmer       
So, the weekend before Thanksgiving, I had some friends visiting from out of town that wanted to have a night on the town and while we were out I decided to sample some Winter Ales. First, I tried Boulevard's Nutcracker Ale and Free State Brewing Company's Winter Ale. The two beers were very similar. Both were amber in color, hoppy and bitter with a little extra something that I couldn't put my finger on (some sort of spice) that I wasn't into. Needless to say, these were not my favorites. Next, my friends decided to check in to their nearby hotel where I ordered a regular Fat Tire beer from the hotel bar to wash the bitter winter beer taste out of my mouth. But, instead of good ol' reliable Fat Tire I was given a Fat Tire beer, minus the carbonation, which I thus named Flat Tire. Finally, my friends and I made our way to a local brewery, where I made one last attempt at sampling the local brewery's Winter beer, but was again disappointed by it's exceptional hoppiness, bitterness and all around ickiness. So after this night I concluded that maybe Winter Ales just aren't for me. But, the Paste Magazine description of the Harpoon Winter Warmer (comparing it to the Pumpkin Ales from the fall) makes me wonder if I have room to sample just one more Winter Ale this season....I wonder if they have any in town?

Do you enjoy Winter Ales? Do you have a beer recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments below.

1 comment

  1. The Harpoon Winter Warmer is pretty good. I'm not a huge "Holiday Ale" fan (I don't like Nutcracker, at all, for instance), but I do like Harpoon's. I've found that, unlike holiday ales, winter warmers are typically less about the spices and more about being tasty dark brown ales with higher alcohol levels. So if I were you, I'd look for beers billed as winter warmers and go from there. Unfortunately, I'm 95% sure that Harpoon doesn't distribute to anywhere near you, so you'll have to find another one.


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