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Co-op brew corner

Co-op Brew Corner: Winterland Near & Far

Winter brings us annual traditions: gatherings, gifts, a cozy fire, plus the inviting aromas of cedar wreathes, gingerbread, and winter beer. Traditionally, winter style ales are darker, stronger in both taste and alcohol content, and provide a thirst-quenching depth best enjoyed in a comfortable spot — maybe relaxing in front of a warm fire, at your favorite bar, or in the company of friends and family.

In Europe, many winter drinking traditions date back to the medieval English tradition of “wassailing.” In those days a wassail was a homemade concoction that was generally made by combining ale with honey, then topping the mix with roasted crab apples. A part of the wassailing was singing carols from door-to-door, a tradition that lives on in many parts of the world. Keep warm with these limited release, winter warmer seasonal brews from near and far. Enjoy this holiday season with a song in your throat and a brew in your hand!

  • wassailmeadWassail Honey Moon Mead 11% abv — Sweet and spicy, Honey Moon’s celebratory mead is made from sustainably harvested honey from Northwest Washington bees. Made locally in Bellingham, this traditional mead is infused with a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, peppercorn, and grains of paradise. Chill or warm for a festive cup of local cheer. Honey Moon Wassail Spiced Mead is now available for $14.99 per 750 ml.
  • Hale’s El Dazzle Winter Stout 6.3% alcohol by volume / IBU — A rich, chocolate malty ale returns for its seasonal release from one of the oldest craft breweries in Washington state. Serve with hearty winter meals and desserts. Hales El Dazzle Stout is on sale now for $8.49 per 6 pk.
  • samsmwinterSamuel Smith’s Winter Welcome  6% alcohol by volume / low IBU — The first bottle of Samuel Smith’s was sold in the US in 1978, and this year’s edition is the 27th annual release! This traditional English winter warmer has an enticing, fruity aroma from the brewery’s unique yeast strain and from fermentation in open-topped “Yorkshire Squares,” which are made from slate. The body is medium-full, and the flavor suggests caramel, honey, and a field of ripe robust barley, accented by gentle, low bitterness English hops. Only available while supplies last, Winter Welcome is now $4.49 per 18.7 oz bottle.
By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.