River Brew: Winter Beers
|A cold winter day on the river|
Did you read the intro (River Brew)? If not, do that now. Well to determine this, we have to decide what we want in a winter beer, and then see what we have available in cans that fit this description. Typically, in the winter I want dark and strong ales, stouts, and porters. Most winter brews have a heavy, creamy, malt, often with sweet chocolate overtones, but to be really good, you need to balance out some of that sweetness. I also want my winter brews to keep me warm and feeling full, often a higher ABV does this, but that requires you to pay attention and drink slow (which gives you more time to fish slow between sips.)
Here are Fish Tattoo's top five Winter Brews:
Moose Drool Brown Ale drinks with a thick creamy texture, making it feel like a winter drink. You can smell the caramel and chocolate undertones as you sip on this malty beer. It is sweet, but not too sweet. There are some hidden hops that knock the sweetness down. A great beer to enjoy on any cold day from fall to spring.
4. Pateros Creek - Cache La Porter
Smooth and creamy is the best way to describe Cache La Porter from Pateros Creek Brewing Co. A roasted, sweet, chocolaty aroma is present when you crack open the can, and is tasted when you take your first sip. It is a difficult beer to categorize with nuances of brown ales, porters, and stouts. It is sweet, with flavors of caramel and toffee, but not definitely not overly sweet, and there are some earthy hops that remind you that you are drinking a beer. Being named after a river is a good thing in the eyes of Fish Tattoo, also. An excellent choice for a cold day.
3. 21st Amendment - Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale
Warming and sweet are the two best words to describe this beer. It is sweeter than I typically want my beer to be, but somehow, it works. The added spices, especially nutmeg, help to smooth it out, and remind you that you are drinking a winter beer.
2. Santa Fe Brewing - Imperial Java Stout
Imperial Java Stout is an excellent beer. I don't know how else to put it. Perfect for a cold day of fishing. It keeps you warm, probably from the higher alcohol content, so keep that in mind and sip it slower than you want to. The hops are more prominent than in the other beers on this winter list, but they help to balance out some of the sweetness. And then there is the coffee. Coffee plays a big part in the taste of this true Java Stout, and it is good. The beer drinks thick, but very smooth and easy. This is often my number one choice for any of the bitterly cold days I head out on the water.
1. Oskar Blues - Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
It was a tough call to choose my number one between Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout, and this, Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. But, Ten Fidy eventually won out in the winter category. Creamy chocolate, slight hints of roasted coffee, and possibly even some fruit, all show up from the rich malt of this beer. The same flavors add to the aroma of the beer as you drink. And my oh my does it warm you from the inside, even when you drink this beer cold. That is probably from the 10.5 % ABV, so again, be careful as you sip on Ten Fidy.
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