‘Tis the season’ and as I write this, nestled under a blanket and trying my best to be hygge, the first snows of winter have drifted across London, causing mass panic on the streets of The City, the rest of the country looking bemused. Yes it’s officially winter and whilst I’m happy drinking a light fruity cider or sour wheat beer the rest of the year, there’s only one drink for me this winter – well, two. Stouts and porters – rich, dark, almost syrupy. Part drink, part meal, part medicinal – try these five, preferably in front of a roaring log fire after a country walk through the snow.
Fairy Tale in Cardiff, Crafty Devil Brewing (5% ABV)
As well as having possibly the best name for a beer ever, this lactose laden milk stout is packed with rich cocoa nibs and peppermint flavours – think an After 8 in a glass. It probably shouldn’t work but the dark chocolate flavours keep this from being too sweet.
Icelandic Toasted Porter, Einstök Ölgerd (6% ABV)
From the land of Ice and Fire (no, not Westeros) comes this dark and foreboding brew. Don’t be put off by just how black this is, the sweet toffee and chocolate notes help keep this porter fairly light. Toasted and chocolate malts give a full, roasted nutty flavour with a slight aniseed aftertaste.
Shihtzu, Ollie’s Brewery (5.4% ABV)
Fancy something a bit spicy to tingle your tastebuds this winter, then give this cheeky number a go. A traditional milk stout, Ollie’s have added different chillies to their brews, leading to a Russian Roulette approach in just how hot your stout will be!
Named after the brewery owner’s rescue dog, and with 10% of all profits going to Friends of the Dogs Wales charity, have a brew and help a furry friend this winter.
Smog Rocket, Beavertown (5.4% ABV)
Continuing the London tradition of smokey stouts and porters, this complex brew has flavours ranging from dark chocolate through to sweet caramel. Coffee and a balance of smoke keep this on the bitter side, with sweet malts rounding out proceedings. Subtle, it ain’t,
Dutch Letters, Mart’s Craft Beer (7% ABV)
A new brew from young Northern upstarts, Mart’s Craft Beer, don’t be fooled by the innocent almond taste, at 7%, this can pack a punch! Mart’s beers are bottled entirely by hand and sold at makers markets across the North. Seek them out and make sure you buy Holly a coffee.