Top Winter Beers at Colorado's Craft Breweries

One of the most glorious and distinct harbingers of winter in Colorado is the appearance of seasonal beers. Winter is the time to take advantage of flavors such as roasted malts, chocolate, pepper spice and caramel. Below are a few winter warmers from Colorado craft breweries to keep an eye out for.

Colorado's New Belgium Brewing Company's tasting room in Fort Collins

Favorite Colorado Winter Brews

Winters are a surprise with Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont as they shake the season up with a rotation of re-released past favorites and new innovations. Look for delights like the award-winning Fade to Black, which is brewed with different ingredients — like licorice, cardamom and molasses —every year it's made.  Snowbound Winter Ale brightens up winter days with an array of invigorating spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and orange peel. Meanwhile, the Wake Up Dead Nitro evokes chocolate-cake vibes with notes of cocoa, dried fruit and licorice.

Each winter, Grand Junction’s Ramblebine Brewing Company and other breweries on the Western Slope (towns like Fruita, Palisade and Paonia) brew their own unique Feats of Strength beers. Travel the region and see how many you can sample. But that's not all: Ramblebine also concocts seasonal brews like dark cherry sours — kicked up with mulling spices — and collaborates with other local businesses. Examples include the Loki Ice Dragon — named after Loki Gear — with mellow notes of coffee, cocoa nibs and hazelnuts. As a bonus, portions of proceeds for seasonal brews sometimes go to local nonprofits.

New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins developed a cult-like following for its seasonal Accumulation White India Pale Ale from the beginning. It delivers notes of tropical fruits, bright citrus and a spicy/herbal/hoppy taste.

Once brewed only in small batches for employees of Coors, AC Golden Brewing Company's (a subsidiary of Molson Coors in Golden) crisp Colorado Native Winterfest lager has gained a faithful following since they started brewing slightly larger batches. One of the most fun things about this one is its exclusivity — you can only get it in Colorado.

Though the Northstar Imperial Porter brewed each winter by Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing Company is extremely enjoyable at the time of purchase, it’s also brewed to last. Connoisseurs can stow a six pack away in a cool, dark spot to savor its deliciously aged, full-bodied malted flavors a few winters from now.

Great Divide Brewing Company’s richly malted Hibernation Ale should be sipped cautiously — with 8.7 percent alcohol by volume, it’s one of the strongest winter selections. What really takes center stage, however, are the ale’s chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Visit their Denver tap room for great views of their brewhouse.

Other Colorado Craft Brews to Try

Estes Park Brewery’s easy-to-drink Samson Stout
Atrevida Beer Co.’s malty and spicy Chapulin Colorado (Colorado Springs)
Kannah Creek Brewing Company’s hoppy and malty Vertical Drop Robust Red Ale (Grand Junction)
Breckenridge Brewery’s hearty chocolate and caramel Christmas Ale
Raíces Brewing Company’s Manquito with summery warm-you-up vibes (Denver)
Avery Brewing Company’s hazelnutty Old Jubilation Ale (Boulder)
Odell Brewing Co.’s subtly sweet Isolation Ale (Fort Collins)
Pagosa Brewing Company’s malty-and-hoppy Black Diamond Black IPA (Pagosa Springs)

For information on all of Colorado’s craft brewers, visit the Colorado Brewers Guild.

Want more?

Find the Colorado beer that pairs best with your ideal adventure
Learn more about Colorado's craft beer scene

Photo: New Belgium Brewing's Tasting Room, photo by flickr/RobotsOnCandy.