Early-year seasonals don’t get much hype, but there are some amazing beers being released in the next couple months. Here are five you should be trying to put inside you. this winter. Some will be more difficult to get than others, but they’re all worth your effort.
Samuel Adams – Cold Snap
Winter is typically about porters and stouts, but Sam Adams doesn’t play by your beer rules. They’re releasing a brand new spring beer, Cold Snap, this January-March. The Belgian-style white ale uses a blend of fruits, flowers, and spices from around the world to help take your mind off the white-out conditions right now if you live somewhere like Chicago. They say it’s meant to usher in spring, but I say it’s meant to feed my delusions of warmth.
Founders – Smoked Porter
Porters don’t get nearly enough love in the face of all the barrel-aged stouts, but they’re damn good. Founders Porter is one of the best of the bunch, so their new Smoke Porter is a highly anticipated release (at least by me). It’s part of their Backstage Series, which unfortunately means limited distribution. Bottles aren’t making it past the Michigan border, but it will be on draft in February anywhere Founders is poured. It’s a good excuse to actually leave the house for once this winter.
Sierra Nevada – 4-Way IPA Variety Pack
Sierra Nevada is late to the grab bag game, offering only the Beer Camp Variety Pack once a year while most breweries regularly crank them out. That changes starting in March. New seasonal packs will be coming, the first of which is a collection of hop-forward IPAs that showoff the breadth of the style “from midnight black to hazy white, experimental ingredients to innovative brewing equipment.” Included are Torpedo Extra IPA, Blindfold Black IPA, Snow Wit and the Seven Dwarf Hops and Nooner Session IPA. Yes, you read that 3rd one correctly.
Hopslam is one of the biggest and best beers on Earth that still tastes like more than the sum of its parts. Most beers named in a way to imply you’re about to be murdered by hops do exactly that. They offer amazing hop flavor and not much else. Thanks to the honey Bell’s adds, Hopslam manages to be a major kick in your hopsack while remaining a well-balanced beer. This year they were able to produce more than usual, so it should be a little easier to find. It’s slowly being released throughout January.
Upright Brewery – Fantasia
Sour beers are the new hotness, and Upright Brewing’s Fantasia might be one of the best. It’s inspired by Mickey Mouse, I assume, and barrel fermented beer using fresh peaches. It spends at least a year in oak then even more time sitting tauntingly hidden away while bottle conditioning. The only downside is that you’ll probably need to know someone in Portland if you actually want to try it. Fantasia was just too good not to share though, so I apologize if you don’t have any Pacific Northwest friends to help you out when it’s released on Jan. 10th.