There’s a wonderful scene in the 2007 documentary American Brew where late British author Michael Jackson (a.k.a. the Beer Hunter) describes a perfect scenario for sipping a dark ale. He’s in a pub, holding a full pint of heavy ale. “This would be even better on a cold night,” he says, “just as the rain is hammering against your windowpanes, and you’re in a nice, comfortable leather chair, and your wife’s gone to bed, and you’ve a got a bit of peace. You can have a bit of beer and some quiet time.” That’s all fine and dandy, but winters beers are also better on a cold, rainy days served in an in-house flight at a lodge-like beer store/taproom with a fireplace in the middle of Tacoma’s Proctor District. Enjoy Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Winter Warmers.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Winter Warmers
7.4% ABV, draft – can in the cooler
Kulshan Brewing adds four different malts — 2-row, Chocolate, roasted barley, and Munich — to Kitten Mittens Winter Ale giving it the rich, medium-bodied winter warmer we adore with a nose of milk chocolate and a touch of brown malt. The body strikes a nice mix of easy malty notes and medium sweet chocolate balanced by earthy hop notes, thanks to the Apollo, Willamette and Fuggle hops. Expect a touch of chocolate liquor on the finish.
7.9% ABV, can
21st Amendment Brewery produces a line of very tasty brews including Fireside Chat, a winter ale with a nod toward Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era radio addresses. (Franklin Roosevelt won the 1932 presidential election based on his promise to repeal the 18th Amendment. He did so incrementally, beginning by legalizing the sale of beer, and ending with the 21st Amendment, the first and only time an amendment to the Constitution has ever been repealed.) On the nose, all the typical winter warmer flavors are accounted for: roasted malts, cinnamon, ginger, caramel, clove, and a smidgen of orange peel. Big notes of cinnamon and ginger lie in wait up front, with a touch of subtle orange peel and some clove with a big ginger sendoff, washing in some cinnamon, bread notes and subtle chocolate, too.
9.2% ABV, draft
Dessert inspired additions of Oregon cherries and vanilla were added to Deschutes Brewery’s barrel-aged Super Jubel to create a decadent winter warmer inspired by Deschutes founder Gary Fish’s favorite dessert paring, Cherries Jubelale with Cherries Jubilee.
10% ABV, can
Annual special release of last year’s Hopworks Abominable Ale winter ale aged in whiskey barrels for 9 months for creamy caramel and candy forward, and boozy on the back.
15.36% ABV, bottle
In late 2023, Oakshire Brewing re-released their Rye Whiskey Very Ill-Tempered Gnome, a rye-whiskey barrel-aged imperial expression of one of our favorite beers, Ill-Tempered Gnome dry-hopped winter brown ale with layers upon layers of toasty malts and resinous hop flavors. Ill-Tempered Gnome is brewed with American and British malt and hopped with some of their favorite varieties from the Pacific Northwest. Oakshire blended Very Ill-Tempered Gnome from barrels and finished in rye-whiskey barrels from a very special Vermont distillery. With more malt, more hops and more flavorful goodness, Rye Whiskey Very Ill-Tempered Gnome sports a malt profile of caramel, light fruit, and toasty nuts backed by a warming alcohol presence and a bold citrus hop blast. It’s bold but balanced.