Darker Beers for Shorter Days

One of my favorite things about the cold winter months is the tasty dark brews that are released this time of year (or are there year-round, but are best enjoyed right around now). Maybe it’s my English and Scottish heritage, but I’d rather have a pint of stout or porter than a glass of red wine.

Though I wouldn’t turn away the glass proffered–I’m not a barbarian.

After my harrowing drive down to Vermillion last Friday evening, I took the edge off my shaky ice-driving nerves with a Sammy Smith’s Oatmeal Stout down at Carey’s.

Opening H’s pantry, I found his friend had left most of a 6-pack of Summit Great Northern Porter–fantastic stuff, and brewed right down in St. Paul (well, up from Vermillion, but down from Big Stone County).  I can’t decide if I like it better refrigerated or at room temperature–I think somewhere in between.

After having thoroughly enjoyed Empyrean’s Burning Skye Scottish Ale (one of my favorite varieties from the Lincoln, NE brewery), I picked up a 6-pack of their Dark Side Vanilla Porter to bring back north with me–a little sweet for my taste, but yummy nonetheless.

Leinenkugel’s (Chippewa Falls, WI) makes a couple brews I like this time of year as well–Creamy Dark is a classic, but I love the Fireside Nut Brown during the long nights that are, as the name suggests, best for spending by the fire.

I’ve been curating some Minnesota Farms and Food lists on Twitter in the last few weeks (follow me @flying_tomato), and I keep hearing good things about Smoke from Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, MN, and I’m also following the Fulton Beer folks in Minneapolis–they have a Russian Imperial Stout called “Worthy Adversary” I’d like to try.

What dark beers do you enjoy this time of year?  And, if you brew your own, I’m happy to help out with a tasting!

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