It’s that time of year again. Days are getting shorter and chillier, nights are getting darker, and Seasonal Affective Disorder is settling into our bones like Irish damp. Fortunately our ancestors were prepared for this time of year and made festivals of light, love and sharing – Christmas and advent among them. Which means it’s also time for something I get excited for every year – my annual beer advent calendar!
It’s mid-February and winter weather has finally arrived in my corner of the world. This means we’re all most likely feeling the drag of another cold winter. Since my birthday is during the cold months I feel a personal imperative to love the season but I have to say that even I need some encouragement to make it all the way to spring.
Whether you’re hibernating like whoa, taking outdoor winter activities by storm or, like me, hygge-ing it up huge, here are some beverage recommendations (wine and beer!) that should help see you through to the other side of winter.
Living in Toronto, I have the pleasure of experiencing all four seasons and, being January, we’re properly into winter now.
Lots of people complain about winter and I wonder if they’re just looking at it wrong. Yes, it’s cold and slushy and sometimes gross outside. Some days the wind is so cold and biting I can barely take a breath! But wearing layer upon layer and braving the cold just makes coming in to a warm home all the sweeter. Sure, winter makes you work for it, but it’s worth it in the end.
And there are lots of great things about braving the season too. The cold, grey days and even colder nights offer a great opportunity to cozy up on the couch with a soft throw and a hearty beer. Unlike summer, when crisp lagers and wheat beers hit the spot, in winter I look forward to heavier fare – browns, darks, stouts and porters.
Here are some beers I look forward to having this winter. Why don’t we try them together?
This beer is technically available year-round, but despite being a Scotch Ale (a beer not necessarily associated with colder weather) the talk of toastiness and caramel in the description make me think winter is it’s ideally-paired season. Interestingly, reviews of it on Untappd vary wildly, so I think I’ll reserve final judgement until after I have the chance to taste it. I’m still looking forward to giving it a go though.
Have you had this one before? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Keen home viewers might recognize this as the first beer from my advent calendar. December 1st was the first time I had the pleasure of enjoying this beer (a Munich-style Dunkel, to be specific), and enjoyed it so much that I’ve made a point to keep an eye out for it on tap over the last month. Surprisingly, I found I prefer it from a can as opposed to draft, which I almost always prefer. Maybe the place I where I had it on tap were pouring from an older (and flatter) keg though, so who knows? I’ll certainly give it another go on tap if and when I see it. And in the mean time I’ll enjoy it from a can at home.
Ok, seriously. The name alone! I’ve seen this guy in stores for at least a year and keep passing it by because of it’s price and volume – it’s not cheap, and apparently buying beer in large formats is the worst deal out there. But I’m still intrigued by this beer! So winter 2016 will be the time I finally pony up and try it.
Like the other beers in this post, I’m looking forward to trying this one for its described toastiness and its caramel, vanilla, spice, coffee/mocha, leather and earthy flavours. Sounds a bit like a wine, now doesn’t it? Time will tell whether I actually get all those flavours when I finally try it, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
This beer has been on my list since I saw it while buying beers for my beer advent calendar. I didn’t put it in the calendar because it’s 650mls and that felt a bit too indulgent for a daily advent beer. So instead I filed it away into that little part of my brain marked ‘beers to try later’. Well, it’s later! The rest of this week is forecasted to be quite chilly so I think I’ll pick up a bottle and see how I like it.
This beer is super dark and inky – it’s almost black, really. It’s also brewed with cinnamon, which explains why it’s name points toward the Christmas season. I’m really looking forward to trying it, and expect it to have a lovely full body along with a roasted and slightly spicy flavour. Let’s hope it delivers!