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Top 5 winter brews

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Warm winter beer for the holidays

Every day is a holiday once the weather gets cold, and the best way to celebrate is to enjoy a special winter beer. Winter brews are available for only a few months, so get them while they're hot (or cold)!
Beer in front of fireplace

Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale (Portland, Maine)

Available now through December, this bold and full-bodied ale is a classic example of what a winter ale is all about. It's hoppy and malty but totally well-balanced throughout the finish. Made with five different malts, Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale is complex, with distinct wheat, barley and even chocolate flavors. It has a dark copper color and a thick head when poured. Sniff it before drinking to catch the aromas of coffee, butterscotch and chocolate. Pair this beer with hearty soups, stews, casseroles and dark meat like steak and pork.

Blue Point Brewing Company Winter Ale (Long Island, New York)

The full, rich body of this beer warms you from the inside out and instantly transports you to Colorado, where you can imagine yourself sipping it after a full day of fun on the ski slopes. With distinct spice notes and just a hint of sweetness, this amber-colored ale is crisp with a smooth finish. Vanilla, caramel and toffee can be tasted and smelled in this beer, which is brewed only during cold months. For the best effect, pour Blue Point Brewing Company Winter Ale into a pint glass, and watch the bubbles surround the glass and the head form on top. Great food pairings for this ale are duck, steak or sharp cheeses. Get it now through January.

Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale (Lakewood, New York)

Described as a "liquid winter wonderland," this beer is perfect for sipping next to a roaring fireplace. It goes down smooth and silky and is well-balanced and full-bodied, which make it a great beer for slow drinking. It is rich and hoppy, with a deep caramel flavor. Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale is also high in alcohol content (7.2 percent ABV), and with its bold flavor, it really packs a punch. Old Man Winter Ale can be drunk right away, or you can put a few bottles in your cellar and age it for a few months to enjoy in the scorching heat of summer, when you miss that cold, crisp air. Pair this beer with bold cheeses, seafood or poultry dishes.

Troegs Mad Elf Ale (Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Just the name alone makes you smile, and tasting this beer will definitely give you holiday joy. It has a deep red color and just looks festive on the holiday table. Troegs Mad Elf Ale is brewed with cherries and honey, and you can taste and smell both flavors as soon as you crack open the bottle. Mad Elf is not very sweet; in fact, it's almost spicy, which gives it a full-bodied mouthfeel. This is simply a tasty, delicious beer and completely perfect on a cold winter night or at a festive holiday party. Pair this beer with pork, poultry or desserts.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale (Boonville, California)

This winter ale has a highly unique sense about it; it's made with wintry spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, with hints of vanilla and even marshmallow. Anderson Valley Brewing Company Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is smooth and rich and is reminiscent of a cream soda. This winter warmer smells like winter and is perfect with your favorite holiday dishes. Pair this beer with sides like mashed potatoes or main dishes like ham and turkey.

More winter recipes

10 Best beers you've never heard of
8 Must-try winter recipes
Winter dessert recipes

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