For beer seekers this autumn has been a remarkable time. The celebration of marzen and pumpkin ales has proven remarkable. For The Beer Doctor, this year produced what I consider the beer of the year, in the United States at least: Hudepohl Oktoberfest Bier. A successful recipe that deliciously adheres to its German malty roots, and is a crowd pleaser, much in the same way as Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Designed to be enjoyed during this season, before giving way to the Holiday Special Brews, which have already started to arrive.
What for example, is to make of the perpetual favorites from out west, such as Breckenridge Christmas Ale, which has always been a beautiful New World take on Scottish Winter Ale that over years, has become a sublime achievement, where nothing is out of place in its palate profile.
The same can surely be said of Great Divide Hibernation Ale, a dry-hopped take on an old English Winter, where malts and hops do all the talking. As is also the case with Brooklyn Winter Ale, their holiday/winter tribute to the power of Maris Otter malt.
A careful perusal of spiced beer reveals there are many choices. Samuel Adams Winter Lager always has a huge fan base and rightfully so, considering the balanced obtained with spices added to the wheat bock recipe.
“A damn tasty winter beer,” is part of what Beer Advocate’s Todd Alstrom said of this beer, 9 years ago. Considering that I have sampled Winter Lager for at least 20 years, I marvel at the brewmasters’ skill at refining these exquisite recipes, bringing them to fruition, year after marvelous year.