The 10 Best Fall And Winter Beers For 2016

The 10 Best Fall and Winter Beers for 2016

Snow, bitter cold, slush puddles, and darkness at 4:30 p.m. are all right around the corner, and it won't let up until next April. But, hey, at least there's beer

21st Amendment Brewery: Marooned on Hog Island

As the name might imply, this West Coast beer is a collaboration with San Francisco's Hog Island Oyster Company. It's a rich black English-style stout that's been brewed with Sweetwater oyster shells, and the resulting 7.9 percent ABV beer is roasty and malty with a slight salinity from the shells. 

Evil Twin/ Westbrook: Mexican Biscotti Cake Break

Evil Twin and Westbrook's annual collaboration is always one worth seeking out, and this year's pairs up two of the breweries' most popular creations: South Carolina-based Westbrook's Mexican Cake (an imperial stout brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers) and Denmark-based Evil Twin's Biscotti Break (an imperial stout brewed with vanilla, almond, and coffee). The resulting beer, Mexican Biscotti Cake Break, is an 11 percent ABV imperial stout with coffee, cinnamon, almonds, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and jalapeño. It's thick and chewy, slightly spicy, and an absolute flavorbomb. 

Goose Island: Bourbon County Stout

One of America's most beloved beers, Bourbon County Stout is making its much-welcome return for another winter season. To kick this rich, dark, Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout up a couple additional notches, four different varieties are available this year: Original, Barleywine, Coffee (brewed with Intelligentsia coffee), and Proprietor's (with chipotle peppers and cocoa nibs, aged in Bourbon barrels that previously stored maple syrup, available only in Chicago). 

Great Divide Brewing Company: Hibernation Ale

This English-style old ale from Denver-based Great Divide has been a winter tradition since 1995. The 8.7 percent ale is hearty and warming with a malty richness complemented by ample dry hopping. 

Old Forge Brewing Company: Falling Down Brown Ale

Brown ales aren't as trendy as IPAs and other hop-forward beers these days, but the brown ale that Pennsylvania-based Old Forge is the best of both worlds. It's a cross between a brown ale and an IPA, getting roastiness from dark caramel and chocolate malts, bitterness from ample hops, and sweetness from a little brown sugar. 

Otter Creek Brewing Co.: Overgrown APA

Calling all hop-heads: Vermont-based Otter Creek's fall seasonal is a golden American pale ale that's absolutely loaded with American hops. There's a slightly sweet maltiness, but the hops definitely are at the forefront. 

St. Bernardus Brewery: Abt 12

A true Belgian masterpiece, this 10 percent ABV quadrupel from St. Bernardus pours rich and creamy with notes of cocoa, warming spices, figs, raisins, molasses, and caramel on the palate. It's one of the finest quadrupels on the market and a total winter warmer. 

Stone Brewing: Stone Xocoveza

California-based Stone's winter seasonal is Xocoveza, a "winter-spiced mocha stout" that was inspired by Mexican hot chocolate and coffee. A one-time-only offering turned yearly tradition, it's brewed with cocoa, Mostra coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, nutmeg, and lactose to boost the creaminess. The 8.1 percent ABV beer is smooth and full-bodied, well-balanced, and complex. 

The Bruery: Autumn Maple

Orange County's The Bruery's fall seasonal is brewed with 15 pounds of yams per barrel, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, nutmeg, and maple syrup. At 10 percent ABV it packs a wallop, and the use of traditional Belgian yeast gives it a spicy note. Definitely a good one to bring to a holiday dinner

Victory Brewing Company: Winter Cheers

Victory's winter wheat ale, Winter Cheers, has fruity and spicy notes, and is a great alternative for those not looking for anything too dark or bold. It's light and crisp with hints of banana, clove, and citrus, and clocks in at 6.7 percent ABV.