New Colorado stouts, porters and winter warmer beers to try this year

Some might prefer a hot cocktail or mulled wine in the wintertime, but for beer drinkers, it’s the season to reach for beverages that warm from the inside out. That’s why dark, malt-forward styles that are high in alcohol content take over the taps during winter months, and many offer festive flavors to amp up the holiday spirit.

Here are eight Colorado-made beers to add to your list of holiday indulgences.

Christmas Ale by Breckenridge Brewery

First brewed in 1993, Christmas Ale has become a staple seasonal release by Breckenridge Brewery. The malt-forward strong ale (7.1% ABV) features rich flavors of caramel and chocolate with spicy notes from the hops. And why settle for a six-pack when this beer comes in mini-kegs? This year, the brewery is partnering with Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue to offer Denver residents a chance to win a mini-keg delivered to their home by Saint Beer-nards dashing through the snow. (Enter by Dec. 12.; deliveries happen Dec. 16.)

Now available on draft, in six-packs and 12-packs of 12-ounce bottles, and in mini-kegs.

Hammond’s Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Imperial Porter by River North Brewery

Hammond’s Candies are classic holiday treats, which is why Denver’s River North Brewery used more than 40 pounds of crushed candy canes from the company to brew this chocolate peppermint imperial porter (10.4% ABV). Expect roasted and minty flavors that become more pronounced as it warms up.

Now available on draft at both River North Brewery locations in Denver (6021 N. Washington St. and 3400 Blake St.) and to-go in 375 milliliter bombers.

Joshua Tree by New Terrain Brewing Co.

Looking for something bitter to pair with the cold? Golden-based New Terrain Brewing Co. recently released Joshua Tree, an India pale ale infused with spruce tips and a blend of hops that lend piney and resinous notes to the flavor profile. A portion of proceeds benefits The Chill Foundation, which empowers underserved youth through board sports, in honor of a former employee.

Now available on draft at New Terrain Brewing Co. (16401 Table Mountain Pkwy., Golden) and to-go in four-pack of 16-ounce cans.

Hot beers from Primitive Beer, Cohesion Brewing Co. and WeldWerks Brewing

Heated beer is not exactly traditional according to modern standards, but three Colorado breweries are hoping to revive the pastime with original recipes they will serve warm, much like mulled wine or wassail, at an event on Dec. 18 called Hot Bierfest.

Longmont’s Primitive Beer will debut Willfully Obtuse, a blend of four spontaneously fermented beers, some of which have been aged on cherries and spent grape pomace. At Hotbierf Fest, the beer will be served warm from a carafe with honey, citrus and spices.

Denver’s Cohesion will serve vánoční speciální pivo, a garnet-colored lager with toasted malt flavors, that will be heated with a hot poker, adding caramelization and complexity to the sweetness. Lastly, WeldWerks out of Greeley will debut Barrel-Aged Wassail, a winter warmer brewed with orange peels and spices that’s been aged for more than a year in bourbon barrels. That will also be heated via hot poker.

The Hotbier Fest runs noon to 8 p.m.on Dec. 18 at Primitive Beer (2025 Ionosphere St., Longmont) and coincides with a holiday market. The event is free to attend and proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required. Some of the beers are also expected to be available after the festival. 

Brewers Blend by Finkel & Garf Brewing Co.

Brewers at Boulder’s Finkel & Garf combined three distinct beers — a barrel-aged imperial milk stout, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout and another imperial milk stout — into one beer that promises to be a full-bodied glass of robust roasted flavors. At 10.3% ABV, expect some boozy notes, too.

Now on draft at Finkel & Garf Brewing Co. (5455 Spine Road, Boulder) and to-go in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Olaf the Other Reindeer by New Image Brewing Co.

In an effort to capture the essence of hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps, Arvada’s New Image Brewing Co. created Olaf of the Other Reindeer, an imperial milk stout with lactose, cacao, coffee and peppermint. At 10.5% ABV, the result is a silky and bold beverage that packs a punch.

Now available on draft at New Image Brewing Co. (5622 Yukon St, Arvada) and to-go four-packs of 16-ounce cans.

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