The turkey is eaten, the tinsel is taken down and I hope you have rung in the New Year in style. Now it’s January and we all start again. It may be cold and wet but there are still some excellent winter seasonal beers available to lift your spirits. Here is a roundup of just some of the great seasonal beers and beer styles to try before they are all gone.
Barley wine is a full bodied, rich, strong ale with dark fruit flavours and toffee chewiness and some earthy notes like the traditional style Dungarvan Gallows Hill. Another take on the style is the Mór Barley Wine from Eight Degrees which has been conditioning in tank since the end of the summer. With an increased hop count this is lively and fruity while retaining the chewy caramel and dried fruit profile. Due to its high alcohol content Barley wine is best enjoyed sipped from a snifter glass on its own or paired with some rich deserts.
For me it wouldn’t be winter without some great Irish stouts to enjoy and I look forward each year to the release of O’Hara’s Oak Aged Leann Follain. This is the fifth edition of their Irish whiskey barrel aged stout and yet again it has not failed to impress. Form a stalwart of the Irish craft beer industry to one of the new breweries on the block, O Brother Brewing have gone from strength to strength this year and Joe their coffee infused Porter shows why. This delicious single small batch porter was brewed with speciality roasted coffee from a local micro-roastery in Wicklow called Coffee Mojo.
Another Wicklow brewery using coffee this season is Wicklow Wolf with the playfully named, A Beer Called Rwanda. This time it is a coffee infused brown ale with has proved so popular they have brewed another batch.
I’ll finish up with two great winter reds, the perfect thirst quenchers this time of year. Firstly this season’s version of O’Hara’s Winter Star is a rye ale with addition of cinnamon and orange zest providing a refreshing spicy flavour. Finally for the hop lovers out there is the Snow Eater Red IPA from Eight Degrees with smooth caramel malt character cut beautifully with spicy pine and tangerine hop flavours.
So light the fire, sit back and enjoy some of the best seasonals Irish craft brewers have to offer.