Winter Beers Ready to be Released
September 28, 2011 - 11:19 AM-- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog --
Winter is on the way. No doubt about it. The nights are getting long, the sun is sinking in the south, and local breweries are beginning to release their winter seasonal beers—those robust, malty beers that fill our bellies and warm our spirits. Elysian was first out of the gate (as far as we know), having already released BiFrost Winter Ale. Read about it.
Today we have some more winter beer releases to announce, including Pike Brewing’s Auld Acquaintance Holiday Ale, Pyramid Breweries’ Snow Cap Winter Warmer, Silver City Brewery’s Winter Bock, Maritime Pacific Brewing’s Jolly Roger Christmas Ale, Boundary Bay's Cabin Fever, and Big Time's Old Wooly. We also have news about two release parties that sound like jolly-good fun.
Pike Auld Acquaintance
Dean Mochizuki, the head brewer at Pike Brewing, took over the reins from Drew Cluley a few months ago, becoming the new Head Brewer at the esteemed downtown brewery. This year Dean is putting his mark on Pike’s Auld Acquaintance Holiday Ale, which will be released this Friday at the Pike Pub.
Pike Brewing describes Auld Acquaintance as a holiday session beer, weighing in at an unseasonable 5.5 percent ABV. “Auld Acquaintance is slightly darker than in years past from the addition of a new variety of malt that yields a pleasing toasty deep amber... For additional spice, Dean added a small amount of flaked rye malt. For a more intense, luscious, subtle orange character, he chose both Curacao and sweet orange peel. These, coupled with Goldings hops for flavor, and Challenger hops to finish, and nutmeg, cassia bark (cinnamon), and coriander, deliver a very balanced complexity to Pike's Auld Acquaintance.”
Pike invites you to the Pike Pub in Seattle to meet Dean Mochizuki and try this year’s Auld Acquaintance. The party takes place this Friday, September 30, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Pike Pub Museum Room. $1.00 Pints of Auld Acquaintance served with Pike Pretzel Bites.
Pyramid Snow Cap Winter Ale
Back in the olden days, this was one of the first Washington winter beers to hit the streets. Yes, children, there was a time when winter beers were very, very rare. This is the 25th release of Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer. You are welcome to hold whatever opinion of Pyramid you like, but the release of Snow Cap has been a seasonal ritual around Seattle since the dawn of the modern craft beer era. To commemorate the 25th release, Pyramid is having a big party at the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle on Saturday, October 8th. The event features live music from The Young Evils, Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground, and KEXP DJ Greg Vandy. Get more details at the event website. http://www.pyramidbrew.com/snowcapparty Follow the event on Twitter at #snowcap25
Silver City Winter Bock
Silver City Brewery's Winter Bock debuts in bottles and on draught starting on Monday, October 9th. This beer won a gold medal at the 2011 North American Beer Awards. It weighs in at seven percent ABV. According to Silver City, “Winter Bock's blend of five different German and domestic malts lend a deep, rich color and mild roast character to this classic winter lager. Just as old world brewers aged their beer in snow-covered cellars, Silver City stores Winter Bock for five weeks at near freezing temperatures.”
The Top Three
Two years ago we ran a poll here on the Washington Beer Blog asking people to select their favorite winter beer. The top three responses were Boundary Bay Cabin Fever (22 percent of the votes), Maritime Pacific Jolly Roger (18 percent), and Big Time Old Wooly (15 percent).
Boundary Bay Brewery told us that the official date for the release of Cabin Fever is Monday, October 24th. As the date nears, we'll let you know what we learn about finding it on tap, but expect to see it in the bottleshops not long after the official release.
Maritime Pacific Brewing's nod to the season is perhaps the most beloved of all Seattle winter beers. In 2009, amid the brewery’s relocation project, Jolly Roger was a bit late getting to the shelves. It was like the world stopped spinning. People freaked out. Drum roll, please. This year Jolly Roger will be release in bottles the last week of October. The draft product will come out just before Thanksgiving--as it should be now and for evermore.
Big Time Brewery’s Old Wooly isn’t a normal winter beer. It’s a barleywine. Still, its annual release on December 1st is highly anticipated by Seattle area beer geeks. We equate it with winter so it is therefore a winter beer. It typically weighs in at 8.5 – 9.5 percent ABV, which really isn’t that much stronger than its wintery cohorts.
Use the comments section below to tell us about your favorite winter beer. Also, let us know if you have any news about other pending winter beer releases.