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.
Danny Meyer's Porchlight is set to open March 2 and boasts some delicious and creative cocktails. ...read more ›
Stay hydrated with this creepy Kickstarter....read more ›
Soho, London is getting an owl bar pop-up, and it might be the best thing ever. ...read more ›
Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a finely crafted cocktail?...read more ›
Drink Denver got a sneak peek of the new Breckenridge Brewery taking shape in Littleton. ...read more ›
Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›
Is there anything better than enjoying a good, cheap bottomless brunch?...read more ›
Cheers, Mr. Cumberbatch!...read more ›
New bars and restaurants are popping up all over the place, and we can't wait to try them all....read more ›
"I have measured out my life in coffee spoons..."...read more ›
You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning. These bars are open early to meet all of your day drinking needs. ...read more ›
VinePair's apps simplify the wine pairing process. ...read more ›