A Few Beers with a Runner: Beat the Holiday Blues

Winter Beers

I know what you’re thinking… This was supposed to be a seasonal post, yet I managed to miss the fall…and summer.  But hey, it’s hard work remembering all these damn beers that I drink.  Just look at my profile on Untappd, I usually check in one beer then I get completely drunk distracted and forget to do the rest.  I have a short attention span – oh look, a snow flake…

Well, it recently occurred to me that I’ve never done a winter version of “A Few Beers with a Runner.”  I had to double check so I went back to Eats, Hops, and Life to look.  Yup, spring, summer, fall… *crickets*.  So I checked my site for the same…. nothing.  Are you f@cking kidding?!  Winter is the best time for beer!  I mean, fall is a close second, but c’mon.  How do you beat dark beer parties and 12% ABV coffee stouts?  PS – “dark beer parties” sounds super creepy but they are fun, I promise.     

So let’s get right to the point.  You’ve been seeing way too much of your family lately.  Unfortunately, that won’t stop until mid-January comes around so you’re going to need some beers that can numb the pain.  When I look for a beer in the winter, I want it to warm me up.  I need something that tastes like coffee or spices.  Maybe even hot cocoa!  What’s wrong with hot cocoa?  Here’s a few beers that are currently in my refrigerator.  I plan on drinking them when this weird summer weather turns into blizzards and I am “f-bombing” while shoveling the driveway of my first house.

River Horse Brewing Company – Ewing, NJ – Barrel Aged Barley Wine

River HorseEvery now and then, a brewery will release a limited beer to the public.  With the growing popularity of “barrel aged” varieties, it’s common to see beers aged in bourbon, brandy, and even gin barrels.  This particular style is a barley wine which usually comes in above 8% before any barrel aging takes place.  Add some Tennessee whiskey into the mix and well… you can imagine what happens.  Just think about what takes place when a beer sits in a barrel for about a year.  So many changes can occur and flavors can develop.  This beer steals the oak and vanilla from the barrel and adds a boozy whiskey touch.  It’s perfect for winter snuggling next to the fire.  (Don’t pretend you don’t snuggle in the winter time).  It clocks in at 11% ABV so this is the bottle you reach for on Christmas Eve night.  You know, so you can put on a fake smile when Aunt Betty gives you a wallet with a dollar in it.  Stop by the brewery and pick one up this week.  While you’re there, sign up for my group runs that take place every two weeks!  Shameless plug…

Forgotten Boardwalk – Cherry Hill, NJ – Morro Castle

Morro Castle

Now here’s something you don’t see every day.  In a craft beer world full of IPAs and sour beers, here comes a porter.  Over the years, the porter has become a forgotten style and has gotten lost in the shuffle.  So it only makes sense that a brewery named Forgotten Boardwalk would bring it back – with a twist.  It’s smoked!  Yes, it tastes like a smoked beer.  Like the majority of their lineup, it comes canned so it travels well to your camp site.  With a 5.7% ABV, this beer makes me want to sing campfire songs and hang out with my dog.  “Camp Anawanna… We hold you in our heart…”  Sorry, I got carried away.  Anyway, be sure to pick this beer up on your next trip to the liquor store.  Or, make a day out of it and visit their brewery in south Jersey.

902 Brewing Company – Hoboken, NJ – Black Dynomite


Let’s head north for a bit and take a stroll down a road called Washington Street.  A place where the bars are always open and Santa Con participants throw up in the streets.  HOBOKEN.  There’s a brand new brewery claiming title to this town going by the name of 902 Brewing Company.  I had the pleasure of meeting these guys earlier in the year when I wrote a story on them.  I remember they let me try one of their upcoming beers, “Black Dynomite.”  Well, fast forward several months and they are now bottling this black IPA.  I picked some up the other night and I said, “Why wait?  Let’s open this nowww.”  So yea, that escalated quickly.  Pouring black in color, it looks like a stout, yet, packs a hoppy punch like an IPA.  It’s also 7.3% on the ABV scale so have a few of these and you’ll be singing like Hoboken’s own Sinatra. 

Oskar Blues Brewery – Longmont, CO – Death by Coconut


Just to make up for lost time, let’s do a shot add a 4th beer to the mix.  Normally I stay local when I drink my beers.  (Because it’s easier to find my way home – HA!)  However, this one stands out enough to deserve a mention.  There’s a brewery in Colorado (where all the cool stuff happens) by the name of Oskar Blues Brewery.  You may have seen their beers, “Dale’s Pale Ale” and “Pinner.”  Well, their winter seasonal is called “Death by Coconut.”  This beer is pretty self-explanatory.  It tastes like chocolate coconut for Christ’s sake, it’s delicious!  It also may be one of the best smelling beers I’ve ever had.  Although it sounds sweet, this is definitely not a candy beer.  It has a 6.5% ABV and is pretty damn drinkable.  So when it finally decides to snow outside, grab a 6 pack of this and tell your boss you can’t make it in.

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