Skagit Brew Corner: Plunge Into the Season
Skies are darkening earlier and we’re beginning to see darker ales. Browse the Co-op’s beer selection and you’ll find an increasing number of outstanding seasonal ales to see you through the holidays. Here’s a couple of profiles of winter ales to relax with family, friends and good food.
Start with Ebenezer Ale Winter Warmer, a seasonal offering from Bridgeport Brewing in Portland, Oregon. This complex malty brew is sure to make the season merry. With notes of caramel and dried fruit on the palate, this brew balances nicely with a blend of Northwest hops. Pair Ebenezer with aromatic, spicy dishes like hearty beef and vegetable stews. A lighter winter brew, it’s 6.4 % alcohol by volume with a decent hoppiness of 40 IBU.
For fans of darker brews will be happy to discover Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal Imperial Stout from Northern California. With a heady 10.2 % alcohol by volume and 60 IBU, this bittersweet stout is a rich flavor monster. Named for the mysterious helical tusked whale that thrives in the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean, this malty brew reveals layers of roasted espresso, thick toffee, cocoa and a light hint of smoke. Magnum and Challenger hops help offset the Narwhal’s sweet malt blend, which includes Caramel & Chocolate, Honey, Carafa, Two-Row Pale and Roasted Barley. This ale is holds massive flavors but is ultimately refined with a smooth ebony colored body and a decadent velvety finish.
Serve this hefty whale-of-a stout with strong cheese, ice cream, dark or milk chocolate or sweet, fruity desserts. Thanks to a high alcohol content Narwhal will do well aging alongside wines in the cellar. Buy a four-pack now, drink a few now and keep some to age for later! Cheers to the start of the winter ale season!