When the weather turns frigid, beer drinkers turn to darker libations like stouts or brown ales. One beer type in particular helps keep the cold at bay: winter warmers. A winter warmer is a type of English Strong Ale, one that is heavier on malts than hops, giving it a sweet and sometimes bread-like flavor in the mouth and a dark color, ranging from a deep red to a rich black. A lot of winter warmers, like the Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale and the Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale, include large helpings of spices like cinnamon and ginger. Others—like Founder’s Old Curmudgeon Ale, our favorite of the season—rely on higher alcohol content (up to 10 percent). That’ll keep you warm. One last hint: When you stock up for your holiday party, hold a bottle or two back for next Christmas—good winter warmers taste even better with time.
Founder’s Old Curmudgeon Ale
Available at Ludlow Wines
339 Ludlow Ave.
Old Fezziwig Ale
Available at Cork ’N Bottle
501 Crescent Ave., Covington
Dogs of Christmas Ale
Available at Hyde Park Wine & Spirits
2719 Madison Rd., Hyde Park
Photographs courtesy of Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. / Founders Brewing / The Boston Beer Company, INC.
Originally published in the December 2011 issue.