A year in beers

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First Posted: 12/29/2014

Now that 2014 is just a memory, it’s time to look ahead to 2015. The best way to plan your year is by examining what beers are best enjoyed in each season. Many beer drinkers love to transition to specific styles to match impeccably with the seasons.

Here is a look ahead as we drink our way through the year.

Winter: As light fades to the background and darkness and cold seem to engulf all during these months it is quite easy to get depressed. However, a transition to darker beers such as stouts and porters help take the edge off. Higher ABV beers such as barleywines are also a welcome site this time of year. The high ABV and rich warming characteristics of the beers helps chase away the winter blues offering flavor complexities and an aid to relaxation. Some great beers to enjoy during the winter are: Terrapin- Wake N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout; Avery Brewing- Mephistopheles Stout; Brooklyn Brewery- Black Chocolate Stout; Ballast Point- Victory at Sea; Founder’s- Imperial Stout; Sierra Nevada- Bigfoot Barleywine

Spring: The transition from darkness and cold temperatures into warmer temps and green landscapes calls for beers that are a perfect balance of light and dark. The trick is to find beers that don’t weigh too heavily on the palate or in the stomach but are not so light that they closer resemble beers that are good for summer, balance is the key. Some great style choices for spring are: Dunkel Weizen, Weizenbock, and Maibock. The rich malt characteristics and sometimes fruity and/or hoppy notes are the perfect balance of light and dark. Some great beers to try that fit these style guidelines are: Rouge- Dead Guy Ale; Weihenstephaner- Vitus; Victory Brewing- Moon Glow Weizenbock; Southern Tier- Goat Boy; Weihenstephan- Hefeweissbier Dunkel; and Ayinger- Ur-Weisse

Summer: Summer is of course the perfect time to relax with cold beers that are light and refreshing that are wonderful to help cool one down during the hot temperatures. This is the time of year when Weissbiers, IPAs, pale ales, wheat ales and pilsners dominate space in the fridge. There are of course endless amounts of beers that fall into these vast varieties and many are available year round and may be great to enjoy to help bring a spark of light to the dark days of winter. Some great beers to enjoy during the summer are: Victory Brewing- Prima Pils; Firestone Walker- Pivo Pils; Sierra Nevada- Pale Ale; 21st Amendment- Bitter American; Dogfish Head- Festina Pêche; Ballast Point- Sculpin IPA; Bear Republic- Racer 5 IPA; Great Divide- Titan IPA; and Anderson Valley- Heelch O’Hops

Fall: The fall season is another pivotal transition season as we leave the long hot days of summer behind and get ready to bunker down for the cold days ahead. Halloween and Thanksgiving also provide great opportunities for get-togethers with great food and great beers. Beers that have some more malt forward flavors and subtle warming characteristics are great this time of year. The weather has a slight chill in the air and the wonderful fall colors are best reflected in wonderful malt choices. Great beer styles to enjoy this time of year are Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale’s, Bière de Garde, and Scotch Ales. Some great beers to enjoy are: Sam Adams- Octoberfest, Great Lakes-

Oktoberfest; Schlafly- Pumpkin Ale; Stevens Point- Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale; Jolly Pumpkin- Oro De Calabaza; Orkney Brewery- Skull Splitter; and Traquair House Brewery- Traquair House Ale

Whatever you decide to drink and whenever you decide to drink it is of course up to you.

Whatever you decide to drink and whenever you decide to drink it is of course up to you. However, if you follow these simple guidelines it will only enhance the seasonal experience for you throughout the year. Beers should be a reflection of the environment and act as an aid to enhance the experience in any manner possible.

Enjoy your 2015 in good health.