Beer isn’t just for warm, summer days. Just because the days have drawn in and the temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean you should forget about beer for a few months. Winter beers are wonderful beverages to brighten up even the darkest, coldest, and wettest fall day. And, here at Restaurant Clicks, we look forward to our winter beers every year.
Those crisp, cold lagers that quenched our thirst during the hot summer days do not have as much of an appeal in the colder months. The citrusy, tropical hops of summer just don’t cut it on the lead-up to Christmas. Instead, you will want something that offers a little more warmth and comfort. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire and a delectable winter beer may be the perfect way to spend a wintry evening.
Many of us are in the mood for more complex flavors during fall and winter. Roasted malts, chocolate, and baking spices. They are just calling for you! The wintertime is made for comforting drinks that go down smoother than snowfall on Christmas day.
To help you find some delicious winter beers, we have created a list of the best in this article. Even Santa himself wouldn’t say no to any of these. He’ll just be lucky if you leave him any for Christmas morning!
Best Winter Beers
- Bell’s Best Brown Ale
- Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
- Allagash Truepenny Pilsner
- Fremont Brewing Winter Ale
- Pelican Brewing Bad Santa CDA
- Guinness Draught Stought
- Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce
- Sierra Nevada Celebration
- Ninkasi Brewing Sleigh’r
Bell’s Best Brown Ale
So, you may be wondering what makes a great winter beer. Generally, it should be something comforting. A drink that fills you with a warm and fuzzy feeling even on the coldest winter nights. Brown ales are ideal and offer just this with Bell’s Best Brown Ale being, well, the best out there.
American versions of brown ales are simply ideal for the wintry months. They offer a pleasing balance between the heaviest dark beers and crisper, hoppy beverages.
Bell’s Best Brown Ale combines the distinct flavors of cocoa, caramel, and some malty notes alongside a generous dose of American hops. The result? A comforting, light beer which is just 5.8 percent ABV. Got a get together with friends this fall? Drink a few of these and you will not feel bloated or tired. Simply put, Bell’s Best Brown Ale is one of the best winter drinks out there.
Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
We told you Santa would love these drinks. At first, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve may seem a little bitter but after that first sip, it just gets better and better.
Although slightly bitter, the toasty malts this ale contains perfectly balance it out. Sitting quietly in the backdrop of this winter beer are hints of pine and plums and once poured into a glass, it boasts a barely see-through rust color. Just looking at it makes you feel warmer!
We love the smell of this beer with a citrus hop nose and malt undertones. If you like a little bite of citrus and you’re a true lover of hops, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve is the one for you.
Allagash Truepenny Pilsner
If you’re a beer enthusiast, then you are probably a big fan of lagers and Pilsners. These are probably the most popular beers in the U.S. thanks to their refreshing buzz and lightness.
Compared to IPAs, Allagash Trupenny Pilsner sports a much more palatable hop. This Belgian-style Pilsner is fermented using two methods with one part of the beer’s batch being fermented with pilsner yeast and the other with the house Brettanomyces yeast. Together, these blend perfectly to produce a beer that is as crisp as any lager but offers more complex flavors.
This is a classic Truepenny beer. It delivers on its promise of being refreshing with wonderful hop tones and a classic grain bill. With tones of bread, flowers, and biscuits, Allagash Truepenny Pilsner is one to try this winter.
Fremont Brewing Winter Ale
With a milk chocolate head and a soft, woody aroma, this winter ale just tastes like the holidays! It has a darkish, pale wood hue which is more like a brown ale. And, its peppery, nutty, slightly creamy notes with a peppery hope bite means it is the perfect beverage for any winter’s night.
If you like rich caramel and chocolate notes in your ales, Fremont Brewing Winter ale could be a match made in heaven. Alongside a taste of bark, you will feel like you’re sitting in Santa’s grotto literally drinking the tastes of Christmas! The alcohol leaves a pleasant lingering burn which adds even more comfort to the drinking experience.
With a malty aroma that isn’t too sweet, Fremont Brewing Winter ale has pleasant hints of cocoa. It is one of the easiest winter beers to drink and compared to many others on the market, it is not as “boozy” or “spiced” meaning it is smooth from the first sip to the last.
Pelican Brewing Bad Santa CDA
Here we have a beer with a herbal-flowery hop bite and roasted barley notes. Some would say this is quite a bittersweet beer but we found it to be more balanced than many CDAs (Canadian Dark Ales) on the market.
Pelican Brewing Bad Santa CDA has a slightly hoppy nose but is not too hoppy or too roasted. As a dark winter ale, this could easily fall in the IPA category but one thing is for sure, this CDA ticks all the boxes for a top-quality winter beer. It may be 7.5 percent ABV but it doesn’t feel like it. So, drink with caution!
There is definitely a toasted nut aroma with Pelican brewing Bad Santa CDA. Its consistency is incredible and is certainly one of the most drinkable and satisfying beers out there right now.
Guinness Draught Stout
Perhaps the most famous draught stout in the world, Guinness may as well have been made especially for the colder months. With its creamy, smooth notes, and delicate chocolate and coffee roasted malts, Guinness Draught Stout impresses us every time.
The smoothness of this beverage alongside a fine foam and bubbles compliments its lighter flavor profile. Compared to other draught stouts out there, this is not as intense. Of course, it has that famous Guinness appearance with two fingers of ecru foam proudly sitting on top of the coffee-colored liquid below. Topped off with hints of charred wood and coffee, Guinness Draught Stout should be overly strong but, instead, it is pleasantly mild.
As you reach the middle of this stout, you come across some charred wood flavors before the base of the beverage gives off some coffee bitterness. While this isn’t a winter beer to drink all night, it is a perfect companion for a dark, winter evening.
Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce
With the scent of pastry beer and cinnamon, Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce is a well-balanced and truly quaffable winter. As the name suggests, there is a large dose of cinnamon on the nose as well as in its flavor. However, this is mellowed out by delectable creamy ice cream notes.
Creamy but still light-bodied, this winter beer has Mexican hot chocolate vibes. If you don’t like cinnamon, this isn’t for you but we’re guessing you would stay away as soon as you see “cinnamon” in its name. We love the vanilla balance to this beer and that it is not in the slightest bit sweet.
There is also a slight aroma of almonds along with the vanilla which helps to brighten the cinnamon within this drink. Its body is thin but has a large roasted finish. Honestly, we think Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce could pass as a dessert if it wanted to! Smooth and wonderfully drinkable, you will undoubtedly be coming back for more after you try this delight.
Sierra Nevada Celebration
We should all be celebrating Sierra Nevada’s Celebration. Why? Well, it is one of the very best winter beers for all hop heads out there! This beer uses the first hops of every season to help create a fresh-tasting beer that would go down at any time of the year. (Shame we have to wait until October every year!)
The fresh hops give Sierra Nevada Celebration some complex flavors of citrus, pine, and malty caramel. On the pour, this beverage looks stunning with a red hue, a thick pillowy head, and large rings of lace. It boasts a very hoppy aroma and can be a little bitter for some taste buds.
Starting with a malty resin and going down to a malty middle with a sweet citrus blend shining through, Sierra Nevada Celebration is everything you want from a holiday beer. Not too boozy but well-crafted and creamy. This is what we want for Christmas this year!
Ninkasi Brewing Sleigh’r
Ninkasi Brewing Sleigh’r has become more and more popular over recent years. With its rich mahogany color and brown sugar/molasses malt flavors, this is a soft, full-bodied bitter with a plentiful supply of hops to finish it off. Talking about its finish, this winter beer has a bitter, herby hop, and burnt barley finish and offers everything you want from a semi-dark winter warmer.
Big, bitter, chewy, and sweet, Ninkasi Brewing Sleigh’r is one of the most satisfying winter beers on the market. It’s another fine example of a Pacific Northwest beer with a dank smokiness and rich toastiness entwined under a delightful light chocolate color. While it’s not suitable for one after the other drinking, all night long, it is the perfect tipple for a relaxing evening by the fireside.
At first, its very sweet brown sugar aroma may take you by surprise but once you take that first sip, you will be met with distinctive flavors such as walnut. Although it has a Christmas name, it is far more than just a holiday beer. Ninkasi Brewing Sleigh’r is a potent, dark beer yet has a dry feel to it. It is not overly roasted and is a superb choice for sipping on a winter’s day to warm your bones.
Above are just a handful of the most delicious winter beers to keep you company this fall. All offer unique flavors but they all share one thing in common – each beer on our list will be the perfect accompaniment to any winter’s day. And, if you’re having a bad day, we recommend picking a beer from our list so you can sit back, relax, and forget the world for just a little while.
If you’re not much of a beer drinker, you might like our list of winter cocktails to try!
Which winter beer to do you like best? Let us know in a comment down below!