The one upside of the sub-zero temps we are currently experiencing is that a windchill advisory is a very good excuse for holing up at home, preferably with a mix-and-match sixer of craft beers. Our local winter seasonals come in a range of styles, but all have depth, fragrant spice, and, true to their "winter warmer" moniker, often have pretty hefty ABVs.
There are a lot of new offerings to try this year, so get to a liquor store or bar and conduct your own research. In the meantime, here's a handful of our favorite local winter seasonal beers to get you started.
5. August Schell Brewing Company's Chimney Sweep
If Bert from Mary Poppins
had a favorite beer, this would be it. Playful and surprising at every turn, this Schwarzbier is actually lighter in body and lighter-tasting than you'd expect from its sooty, chestnut brown color. A heavy dose of roasted malts up front give way to a subtle suggestion of smoke that make this a great après-cross country-ski, jammies on, relaxing in-front-of the-fire beer. But if you'd prefer to drink one while out and about, swing into 3 Squares
in Maple Grove or Republic at Seven Corners
where it's currently on tap.
4. Lucid Brewing's Duce
You know why Lucid Duce is the number four beer on our list? Because people love to say doo-chay
. This oak barrel-aged imperial red ale is triumphantly earthy, bready, and almost musky, a bit like a trustworthy woodsman, and the carbonation is soft so it goes down noticeably smooth. This season's batch of Duce won't be released for another two weeks, but after the 21st you can find it on tap at Market BBQ on Nicollet
and on December 28 Lucid will be hosting a release party for Duce at Pig & Fiddle
with some special infused firkins.
3. Surly Smoke
Tailor made to be a slow sipper, Surly's Smoke is a Baltic porter with gorgeous plummy fruit flavor, an under layer of licorice, and smoke flavor that's aggressive at first and then grows on you over time, which is kind of the brewery's whole approach. It's currently on tap at the brewery
, The Depot Tavern
, and Red Cow in Edina
, and for sale in bottles at better liquor stores all over the Twin Cities.
2. Indeed Brewing's Old Friend Holiday Ale
The Old Friend is one of two winter beers that Indeed released this year, and although the more chocolaty Stir Crazy is a solid entry into the local seasonal canon, we were swept up by this warming ginger and honey ale. It's reminiscent of their L.S.D., another honey-infused beer, but instead of the refreshing summery wheat style, this one is much maltier with little whiffs of baking spices here and there, but not overly sweet or thick. It's on tap at the brewery
and at Grumpy's in Northeast
if you're in the mood for meeting up with an old friend over the holidays.
1. Fulton Worthy Adversary
The Worthy Adversary, a righteous Russian imperial stout, was our Beer of the Week last week
for good reason. It's a sophisticated, surprisingly versatile brew that will impress the style snobs and woo the dark beer-wary. If you haven't had it, now's the time. It's available in pints and growlers at the brewery
, and on tap at Pat's Tap
and King's Wine Bar
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