Shhh, don't tell me. You're craving a dark malty beer with notes of bitter chicory and warming winter spices? Me, too! And if you're not, you soon will be. This strong sudsy ale from Oregon's Deschutes Brewery certainly hits the spot when it comes to a warming winter brew.
Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon (Strong Ale, 6.7% ABV, 60 IBU)
Deep dark russet brown with an cappuccino-colored head of ridiculously frothy foam. Left some some ladders of lacing down the glass.
Mmmm! Spice cake, brown sugar, and orange zest
This ale is definitely malty, but also much more bitter than I was expecting. There's a hit of robust molasses and winter baking spices upfront (cardamom, clove, and cinnamon), which tips over into a complex jumble of chicory, charred wood, and bitter citrus zest. This is a medium-bodied beer with a refreshing crispness — not unlike being slapped awake by the cold the second you step out of your warm and cozy house.
I love this one with food. Not only is its earthy spiciness a nice compliment to almost any holiday meal, but I find that food helps to cut the bitterness (which otherwise tends to build over several sips and out-balance the malts). I had it with a hearty bowl of bean and barley soup, and I recommend it with any winter stew.
Related: Warm and Toasty: Best Beers for Holiday Parties
(Image: Emma Christensen)