The transition from fall to winter reminds us of the holiday season with all the great food! Craft beer makes a similar one with darker, spiced beers to warm your spirit. From ales to stouts, you can find variations in the color range from amber to dark black. Often you will find spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and others in these wintertime brews.
Stone Hollow Brewing Company in Beatrice, NE, has a tradition of making winter seasonal beers. The head brewer, Bryon Belding, said his fondness for desserts during the holiday season has been a big influence on the beers he creates. He explained there are certain flavors from the cakes, cookies, and candy that can be challenging but extremely fulfilling in crafting beer.
One of the intriguing brews Belding has made for this season is a Winter Ale called CinnaBomb made with cinnamon sticks, ginger, coriander, and orange peel. The amber-colored ale has cinnamon flavor upfront with a slightly sweet orange middle and finish. The ginger flavor is present but not overpowering, adding to the experience. Belding said the key to using spices is the right amount so you can taste them but not too strong to mute the flavor of the beer.
Some of the other late fall and winter favorites that Belding brews include:
• Cherry Cheesecake Ale with cherries, vanilla, and graham cracker notes.
• S’mores Porter with chocolate, vanilla, and marshmallow notes.
• Rolo Imperial Stout with caramel and chocolate notes on a nitrogen tap for that smooth, creamy body.
If you like ciders, Stone Hollow Brewing creates some unique winter offerings such as Doc Holliday Spiced Cider. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg spice up this apple cider. Belding said in the past they created a stronger version for a short pour with whipped cream, making an apple pie like concoction.
As February nears, thoughts of Valentine’s Day and chocolate are in most people’s minds. The Mercantile Building, home of Stone Hollow Brewing, and the surrounding area have an annual winter event called the Chocolate Lovers’ Shopping Day Extravaganza. Belding said for the event they get into the theme with a couple of different chocolate-flavored beers for the patrons to enjoy.
Wintertime is a time to indulge in the season’s comforts whether it is food or craft beer. Snuggle up with a glass of your favorite winter brew and enjoy!