Rob Kasper, columnist for the Baltimore Sun, has published his annual article revealing the paper's choices for winter/Christmas beers.
He splits the list of candidates into three regions.
The Belgians work wonders with sugar and yeasts in their beers. The Americans, an ever inventive lot, delight us with their bigger but balanced brews. And the English deliver toasted and roasted delights.
He describes what makes a winter beer a winter beer.
Whether these beers are called "winter warmers," holiday beers or Christmas beers, traditionally they have something extra - an additional ingredient or an extra helping of malt - that the brewers put in the mix.
He lists 14 favorites out of the 60 tasted. They include, in no particular order:
- Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, one of eight among thirty-five American beers tasted.
- Klein Duimpje Kerstbier, one of three among fifteen Benelux beers tasted.
- Ridgeway Lump of Coal, one of three among ten English beers.
I participated in the power tasting that determined the choices. Several of my preferences were not those of the majority of the panelists. Read more about that experience and the beers we tasted here.
Caveat: I work for a wholesaler in northern Virginia —Select Wines— which sells Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.