In contrast to the Easton, PA brewery's usual (and esteemed) portfolio of high-alcohol, flavor-packed beers, Weyerbacher Winter Ale won’t make you blink. Landing at just 5.6% ABV, the Christmas ale is well-rounded and chestnuty, but not as sweet or spiced as you might expect — especially from the brewery that gifts us with Imperial Pumpkin, Tiny and Sixteen (which all taste almost like they were baked in a bakery rather than brewed from barley).
Office manager Bill Bragg explains, “The market is already flooded with Oktoberfests, pumpkin ales, winter warmers, etc. Could we do a big, bold and spicy warmer? You bet! We just don’t.” Judges at the 1998 World Beer Championships didn’t seem to mind; they gave Winter Ale a silver medal.
Instead of being overly robust or sugared, the ale is like a snow-laden branch heavy with roasty chocolate malts. It pours a rich dark brown, like a leather couch you want to cozy up and nap on, with a head that accessorizes it in comfy khaki. True to style, it’s a very still beer with an easily dispersed head, though what bubbles do burst start out very large.
There’s not a heady aroma, as the beer is so malt-driven (instead of spice-, yeast- or hop-driven), but what does waft up to the nose is perceived as a light-roast coffee and maybe a bit of molasses sugar cookies. Like those cookies, which pack their sweetest punch just before the swallow, this ale coats the back of the tongue and throat with a definite alcoholic warmth on the finish.
This is a beer that could pair companionably with cranberry-glazed duck or any dark poultry prepared with sugared root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots in brown sugar. For an amazing surprise for holiday guests, make up a batch of the bacon beer nuts below. You’ll be the star of the party.
Weyerbacher Winter Ale Caramelized Walnuts With Bacon
(Recipe from Weyerbacher website by chef M. Hamilton)
6 slices uncured bacon
6 oz. Winter Ale
1 packed cup brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
20 oz. walnut halves
Preheat over to 350°F.
Render bacon until very crispy, set aside. Crush into very small pieces.
Add all ingredients except walnuts to a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer, and cook for just a few minutes.
Put nuts in a pan large enough for them to be in one layer, and pour the sugar mixture over the nuts.
Toss to coat the nuts.
Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, mixing every five minutes or so. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and nuts have toasted and taken on a nice browned color.
Allow to cool until sugar sets and becomes hard.
Ever wanted to share some wine with your cat? Thanks to Apollo Peak, you can now....read more ›
For the fourth year in a row, Campari and Imbibe Magazine are rolling out the red-cocktail carpet for Negroni ...read more ›
Do you love the iconic fog of San Francisco so much that you long to imbibe it in alcohol form? Well, thanks to Hangar One Vodka and distiller Caley S...read more ›
When people think of drinking the Virgin Islands, they often think of cocktails made with rum....read more ›
The craft beer world is flipping their lids thanks to a new invention being put to use by Florida craft brewers Saltwater Brewery. ...read more ›
Carnival's newest and largest cruise ship, the 3,954 person Carnival Vista, has its own brewery called the Red Frog Pub & Brewery....read more ›
BBQ Films is recreating the Ghostbusters HQ for three nights only in Brooklyn....read more ›
Russian River already has a brewpub in downtown Santa Rosa, but now the company is planning to build a new one in Windsor, CA, and it's going to be 85...read more ›
Budweiser's latest, super-patriotic move is to rename its beer "America."...read more ›
Bar Rescue's Jon Taffer appeared on Meredith Viera's talk show and made a seriously bad Manhattan....read more ›
Hop-Con 4.0 is the convergence of brewing culture and nerd culture. This day long festival hosted by Stone Bre...read more ›