As winter is officially hitting the Northwest, the fire is going and I am about to crack open a bottle of Hair of the Dog’s winter release “Doggie Claws” it got me thinking. I love brewery seasonal releases because they tend to bring out the best in that brewery. In 2007 a special release of Lagunita’s Undercover Shutdown Ale was created when the brewery was shutdown for 30 days because marijuana was smoked at one of their events. They came back with a vengeance creating a double IPA clocking in at 9.9% abv that packed a hoppy west coast punch, it was as bitter and angry as the Ke$ha fans who defend her singing.
Over the past decade consumers of craft beer have been clamoring for more and the movement toward focusing on these annual and seasonal releases of these Barrel-aged, tribute series, or special event brews is greater than ever to the point that some of these releases have their own friggin day! “Hey honey, I am taking the day off from work to wake up at 4am and sit in line for a bottle of beer, watch the kid’s…peace!” But this excitement does tend to allow the brewer creative freedom and more often than not the brewery discovers a successful recipe.
The shame of this is that some of these beers are “one-off” releases meaning you’ll never see them again making it even more enticing to pick up the bottle so you can try these sometimes crazy creations. Although I love the anticipation of trying the new Sam Adam’s Infinium or Brewdog’s 41% abv sink the Bismarck I’ve also come to look forward to a few standard beers I must have every winter, so here, in no particular order are some of my favorite brewery winter seasonals I look forward to getting my hands on this time of the year.
- Sierra Nevada Brewing – Celebration
- New Belgium Brewing – 2 Below
- Hair of the Dog – Doggie Claws
- Deschutes Brewery – The Abyss
- Dogfish Head Brewery – World Wide Stout
- Sam Adams – Old Fezziwig
- Stone Brewing – Old Guardian Barleywine
- Brooklyn Brewery – Black Chocolate Stout
- Founders Brewing – Imperial Stout
- Great Divide – Espresso Oak Aged Yeti