During the winter, people huddle around the fire and in warm gastropubs with mugs of hot chocolate, hot drinks with liqueur and winter beers. The winter beer is a favorite. In color, winter beers range from brownish red to pitch black. In flavor and body, they have a heavy malt presence and hop ingredients that can be relatively mild or very bitter. Some brews are mixed with different spices for more pop. Average alcohol content by volume, or ABV range, tends to be higher for winter beers. This might be the reason they are called “winter warmers.” These “warmers” might ward off the winter chill.
Bad Weather Brewing Company
414 7th St., W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 207-6627
www.badweatherbrewery.com

This St. Paul brewery seldom stands still in rotating new releases of beer and ale. For now, you can count on the double brown Ominous to warm you when the cold weather hits. An intensely dark beer, Ominous is a blend of American, English and Belgian malts. The end product has a rich and nutty flavor. A dark sugar with date, raisin, plum and chocolate accents enhance the taste. Oats make a full-bodied texture.

56 Brewing
3134 California St NE, Suite 122
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 404-0056
www.56brewing.com

For a hearty winter beer, Dark Territory has the texture and flavors. An intricate blend of six different malts, oats, unsweetened coconut, cocoa and milk sugar, this dark beer has subtle flavors and a delicate aroma. Those who stay away from beer complain about the hop bitterness. Dark Territory offsets the bitterness with coconut, which also gives a textured and smoother taste. You can put aside the red wine; the beer goes well with bleu cheese and roast beef dishes.

August Schell Brewing Co.
1860 Schell Road
New Ulm, MN  56073
(507) 354-5528
www.schellsbrewery.com

Almost any Schell beer can stand up to the winter while also being suitable for warmer weather. But two beers stand out for winter. The Chimney Sweep black lager has stalwart hop bitterness and a rich, roasted malt taste. Schmaltz’s Alt, with deep malt chocolate and sweet licorice flavors, has full-bodied flavors in addition to being a winter warmer. Since 1860, Schell Brewing Co. has been making craft beer. The brewery’s founder, August Schell, made history. Schell, his wife and family, and other German ex-patriates helped build New Ulm.

Related:  Best Beers In The Twin Cities

Bent Brewstillery
1744 Terrace Drive
Roseville, MN 55113
(844) 879-2368
www.bentbrewstillery.com

Bent Brewdistillery has brews on tap. Its winter beers, Maroon and Bold and Uber Lupin, are hot sellers during the cold winter. Maroon and Bold, brewed only from Minnesota hops and malt, has rich hints of citrus, hay and sweet toasted marshmallows. Uber Lupin, made for late winter, infuses a mixture of rich cocoa, toasted bread crumbs and pungent floral hops. For now, the taps have run out of these beers. But refills are expected for the upcoming winter.

Jack Pine Brewery
7942 College Road, Suite 115
Baxter, MN  56425
(218) 270-8072
www.jackpinebrewery.com

This brewery has a versatile beer selection good for any season. The seasonal beer Vengeance, however, is great for cold weather as well as the heat. Fresh cut jalapenos brighten the ale and generate enough heat on the palate that can warm you within. If Vengeance isn’t enough, Black Bear Oatmeal or Big Buck Barleywine might be more to your liking. Big Buck has an ABV of 10 percent, equal to the alcohol content of low alcohol wine. Black Bear Oatmeal has a rich and earthy mocha flavor with oatmeal smoothing the taste.

Related: Best Fall Craft Beers In Minnesota

Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.

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