A guide to Colorado winter beer and special December releases

Now that the weather — finally! — is turning colder, it’s time to celebrate the best time in the beer calendar.

Say what you want about the hoppy beer releases each spring, or the fruity wonders each summer, but the malt and roast flavors that define winter ales offer a good reason to celebrate the season. Colorado’s craft beer makers offer plenty of options for the winter months, from Christmas spiced ales to barrel-aged stouts.

Here’s a guide to some of the tastiest winter beers in Colorado. We consulted with beer buyers at three great Denver bottle shops to compile this list — Mondo Vino, Molly’s and Argonaut. But like any list, it surely misses a few good ones.

The tour starts with …

Winter and Christmas ales

It seems counterintuitive — like pumpkin beer in August — but most winter and Christmas ales are hard to find in December. One that often disappears by now is the limited release of Upslope Christmas Ale, a spice-forward Belgian beer with dark fruit flavors and a color to match Rudolph’s nose.

Three of the largest Colorado craft brewers own the winter beer scene. Avery Brewing’s Old Jubilation Ale is a stand-out English ale with flavors of caramel, raisins and dried fruit. To add to its accolades, the beer ranked 10th in The Beer Connoisseurs magazine’s 2017 list of holiday beers.

Great Divide Brewing’s Hibernation Ale offers similar flavors in an English-inspired Old Ale, a style that sadly only appears this time of year. The beer offers a malt roast with warming alcohol (8.7 percent ABV) and a kick of hops, given the America twist of dry-hopping.

Odell Brewing’s Isolation Ale is a winter warmer with caramel notes, but it stands apart with a crisp hop finish that defies the idea that winter beer is heavy on the gullet. An even lighter beer for the season: Colorado Native’s Winterfest, a lager with spice characteristics from the malt.

This year, a handful of smaller Colorado craft breweries are reviving the gingerbread beer trend. Both Lone Tree Brewing’s English Old Ale, with snickerdoodle-cookie spice flavor, and Caution Brewing’s Gingerbread Stout, with actual cookies in the brew process, debuted in November but may still be on tap at the breweries.

A new batch of gingerbread beers will be ready soon. Bruz Beers will tap its Belgian-style Gingerbread Dubbel on Dec. 15. And a collaboration party Dec. 16 led by Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project and

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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