Top 5 Winter Warmers

Avery Brewing Company Old JubilationAs the frigid cold begins to tighten its grip on upstate New York, it’s time for me to post my Top 5 Winter Warmers. This can sort of be considered a supplemental list to my previous post of Top 10 Christmas Beers. Some of these could have gone on that list, but this top 5 are my favorite beers that actually fall under the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines for WW’s.

Winter Warmers are sweet, creamy, malty offerings that can range a lot in flavor, but they all accomplish the same goal, to keep us toasty and content while the white stuff falls from the sky. There is a big malt presence in flavor and in body, and color can be from light brown to ink black and everything in between. These beers generally aren’t too bitter, but it can be very noticeable depending on the brew. And of course, alcohol warmth!

The almost extinct style was revived in the late 70’s in England, with Samuel Smith Winter Welcome being the unofficial benchmark ever since, while numerous domestic craftbrewers have adapted their own style incorporating new ingredients and different twists on flavor, and consequently it gets a bit more interesting as each year passes.

Here are my top 5 Winter Warmers:

Avery Old Jubilation

Shipyard Prelude

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome

Ithaca Winterizer




  • Hannah January 8, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Yum – these are right up my alley! Which one do you tend to lean toward, Deron? And can I get it in Bflo?

  • Deron January 8, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Well, in a perfect world, Sammy Smith should be the first beer of this style that anyone should have – it’s a classic example, and a good reference point to what you’ll drink in the future.

    I’d have to say it’s a tossup between Anderson and Avery….maybe giving Anderson the edge. Unfortunately, I believe they temporarily lost distributorship in the area….none of their beers are on the shelves out here anymore. Not sure what’s going on with that, but I hope it’s corrected soon. Maybe it’s still in Buffalo?
    The Avery Jubilation I know for a fact did not make it to Buffalo OR Rochester this year, for reasons unexplained, and it was missed!

  • Hannah January 9, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Bummer, man… I was looking around for the Avery last night, before I read your comment… no wonder I couldn’t find it! I did see another one of their brews though…. just wasn’t the “winter warmer” I was looking for.

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