New Winter Brews

Dark malts and rich flavors dominate these new seasonal beers.

With the holiday season fast approaching and cold weather closing in, brewers from across the country are releasing their takes on winter beer. For the most part, these brews are big and bold, delivering pronounced flavors and higher abvs.

Empyrean Winter Wisdom
Lincoln, Nebraska–based Empyrean Brewing Co. has launched Winter Wisdom Hazelnut Brown Ale, its newest seasonal. The 5.3-percent abv offering is brewed with four different malt varieties, two kinds of hops, and hazelnuts, resulting in a malt-driven brew. Brewers unearthed an archived original recipe in the creation of the new beer. Winter Wisdom will be available in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft in Empyrean’s nine-state, Midwestern distribution footprint. For more information, visit

Ommegang Winter Is Here
Cooperstown, New York’s Brewery Ommegang has released its latest Game of Thrones–inspired beer, Winter is Here. Made in partnership with HBO, the 8.3-percent abv Belgian-style double white ale features the Night King—a Game of Thrones character—on the label. The beer is available across the country on draft and in 750-ml. bottles, retail priced at $11.99. Additionally, the new offering will be available in a gift set with a commemorative glass and a bottle of Fire and Blood Red Ale, the previous Game of Thrones release, for $23.99. Visit to learn more.

Upslope Christmas Ale
Boulder, Colorado–based Upslope Brewing Co. has released two limited-edition beers ahead of the holiday season. Brewed with holiday spices and dark, dried fruit, Christmas Ale—first released in 2011—has returned to the brewery’s portfolio. The 8.2-percent abv seasonal offering is available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans across Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico and Montana for a limited time.

Upslope Wild Christmas Ale
Upslope has also debuted Wild Christmas Ale, a new addition to its experimental Lee Hill series. The holiday brew was aged for 10 months in rye whiskey barrels, then soured with mixed culture made in-house, and finally re-fermented for two months on 1,000 pounds of black raspberries prior to bottling. Wild Christmas Ale is available exclusively at the brewery’s taproom in 19.2-ounce cans. For additional information, visit

Rahr & Sons Winter Warmer
Texas-based Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. has debuted Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer. A potent 10 percent-abv beer, Winter Warmer is brewed with English hopes and dark malts before being aged in Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey casks. Rahr brewed this year’s edition of its Winter Warmer to be bolder and higher in alcohol in order to stand up to the flavors imparted by the whiskey barrels. The new beer will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans across the company’s distribution footprint. To learn more, visit

Heavy Seas Winter Storm Imperial ESB
Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Beer has launched its winter seasonal, Winter Storm Imperial ESB. The 7.5-percent abv beer is brewed with a blend of British and West Coast hops to create a bold, earthy and nutty expression of Extra Spicy Bitter. The beer is available in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft or cask throughout Heavy Seas’ distribution footprint, which spans 17 states and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit