As I’m sure you’re all aware, the nights colder and longer winter is setting in. For this reason every year I decide to make a few visits to my favorite beer shop the ale cellar in Darlington, a humble corner shop like outlet with walls filled with beer and glassware from around the world. Here I usually spend great lengths of time scoping the selection picking out both well known classics and beers not tried yet whilst trying not to spend too much money. In fact of recent times the Ale Cellar has got even better, bringing in superb beers for both Meantime and Samuel Smiths, check it out on http://www.alecellar.com/, you can even order online.
Anyway as my very own home brewed ‘Panda’s Christmas reserve’ ale is slowly maturing, I hunt for more examples of great winter beers to help celebrate the season. Obvious ones like Fullers ESB and Black sheep Riggwelter are easy to find and great full bodied winter warmers but various other gems can be found outside the supermarket range such as Sierra Nevada Celebration, a Trappistes Rochefort or perhaps a Daleside Morocco Ale. But what is it I question that makes a great winter ale? Must it be dark and full bodied? Heavily spiced? In fact some Christmas beers such as Wylam breweries legless Santa have been quite pale. So definitions are quite broad with some beers marrying well with the season naturally without being designed as Christmas beers.Melissa Cole reviews in the recent edition of Beers of the world covers some good ones. I myself will be looking for some new releases with the little budget I have available.