The Most Wonderful Time of the Beer

Insight to the must-have beers of the season

As basically everyone on Game of Thrones has said at one point or another, “Winter is coming.” Will your beer palate be ready?

Don’t panic - read on for tips on some brews that go great with the cold weather season.

Go Dark!

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to go dark with your beer choices during winter. Dark beers are characterized as very heavy, strong and filling, which makes them hard to drink during the hot summer months, but perfect for a slow drink while you’re warming up in front of a crackling fire. Plus, most of them have chocolate or coffee undertones, so you can almost treat them like dessert.

If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest two delightful dark brews that you should definitely warm up with this winter.

(512) Pecan Porter

This dark brown porter is slightly sweet and thick and creamy in consistency. It reminds me of coffee and chocolate with hints of pecan and molasses-- all flavors that go well with the winter season. Plus, it’s local!

Brewed by: (512) Brewing Company

Style: American Porter

ABV: 6.80%

Left Hand Milk Stout

This stout is roasty, chocolatey and, most importantly, milky, as its name suggests. It’s deliciously heavy and filling. Try it if you think you might like beer’s take on a mocha.

Brewed by: Left Hand Brewing Company

Style: Milk/Sweet Stout

ABV: 6.00%

Be Belgian

Earlier I said that as a rule, dark beers are best for winter. But that’s the beautiful thing about rules; they’re made to be broken. If you’ve tried all the stouts and porters you can handle, consider a golden yellow Belgian-style tripel.

La Fin Du Monde

Tripels (pronounced “triples”) are characterized by their bright yellow or gold color, fruity undertones and deceptively high alcohol content. La Fin Du Monde’s strong and complex nature makes it as good as any stout or porter for slow sipping in cold winter months. You can buy it bottled in select grocery stores, but it’s best served on tap. Find it at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden on Rainey Street.

Brewed by: Unibroue

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.00%

More Beer For Your Buck

Unfortunately, craft beer can get expensive, so here are some cheaper winter options for beerheads on a budget.

Devil’s Backbone

If you want to try a tripel without breaking the bank, Devil’s Backbone is a great option. It’s deliciously fruity, and six-packs are available at most Austin grocery stores for $8-9.

Brewed by: Real Ale Brewing Company

Style: Tripel

ABV: 8.10%

Shiner Holiday Cheer

Peachy, malty and delicious--and just around eight bucks a six-pack--Shiner’s winter seasonal holds its own among its more expensive competitors. Snatch it up before spring returns!

Brewed by: Spoetzl Brewery

Style: Dunkelweizen


ABV: 5.40%

Say Yes to Nitro!

Some Austin bars offer (512) Pecan Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout and other dark and creamy beers on “nitro” tap. “Nitro” is a reference to how the beer is carbonated: rather than the usual CO2, “nitro” beers are carbonated with nitrogen, which makes them even creamier, heavier and dessert-ier than usual. Try it. You won’t regret it!