By now you have started to see winter warmers encroaching on the retail shelves, if not quite on taps yet, near where you live. This is a seasonal favorite of mine and due for a HTBN taste-off sometime after Thanksgiving. Sorry, but I am still finishing off some summer beers and a recent stocking of harvest ales and pumpkin ales.
But then, that is the beauty of craft brewing – so much variety and so many good beers to taste.
Which brings me to the topic of November and December winter beer festivals. The big ones around my part of the country are the Holiday Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon, and the Winter Beer Fest in Seattle (new venue is at Magnussun Park near Sand Point). T’was a time when a body could do both, as they were separated by a week or two. Not so this year. They are on the same weekend (first weekend in December).
Granted, the Portland event is a five-day-for-one-price extravaganza that starts on a Wednesday and runs through Sunday. You could do a Wed/Thur trip to Portland and potentially still have a day to recover before the Friday/Saturday event in Seattle.
However, considering the 25-4 medal-drubbing that Oregon brewers laid on WA brewers at the GABF a couple of weeks ago, I am more inclined to choose Portland this year. That, and the fact that I can fairly easily meander to the fine WA pubs at leisure during the season to sample the local fare. These used to be pub-only and some festival-only concoctions dreamed up by brewers for sipping whilst sitting around the fireplace. They have growingly become consumer commodities and are being bottled/canned and sent out to bottle shops and local groceries.
Looking forward to two Kulshan Brewing offerings; Kitten Mittens and Royal Tenenbaum, Cozy Sweater from Iron Horse Brewing, Waitsburg Winter Warmer from Laht Neppur,
Speaking of which, here are a few winter warmers that are worthy of a taste this season, and let me know if you are paring these with any fruitcakes, mince pies or gingerbread houses.
Enjoy the season! Be responsible. Use designated drivers. Tell your friends about beers you like.