5 Craft Beers Obtainable in the Los Angeles Area You Must Try This Winter

Posted: January 9, 2015 in Beer, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Top 5
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With the turn of a new year, many people often make new year’s resolutions. Among the most common resolutions, losing weight and quitting smoking top that list year after year. Other common resolutions include money management (clearing debt and increasing savings), vacations/breaks, and less/stop drinking. Statistically, losing weight tops the list of resolutions that people actually complete, while reducing or quitting drinking fails the most. For those that did not resolve to reduce drinking or did not resolve to do anything about drinking, check out this list of five craft brews to seek out this winter in Southern California.

5. Marin Brewing Company‘s Hoppy Holidaze

People with a true passion for food would really love a trip to California’s bay area, or the San Francisco metropolitan area. The populace there truly care about the quality of their food and beverages, and I would equate that level of integrity with that of the Seattle/Tacoma area in Washington. A place like Marin Brewing Company, which has produced outstanding products since 1989, fits in well with the standard of the bay area. Originally started as a brewpub, Marin Brewing has boldly turned into a highly regarded microbrewery across the globe, and continues to deliver quality brews to this day. Along with their standard line of brews, their seasonal brews include tasty treats such as the Hoppy Holidaze. This 7.0% abv spiced ale contains pale, wheat, caramel, and Munich malts, along with sterling and Styrian Goldings hops. Nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange peel all contribute towards the spice characteristics of this winter warmer. You get a lot of flavor going on in this one brew, and you can find it easily at your local bottle shop.

4. Moylan’s Brewery‘s White Christmas Spiced Winter Lager

Another brewery from Northern California, and from the same area as the previous entrant? You bet! Moylan’s Brewery has had a larger footprint in the Southern California craft beer market than Marin Brewing has, and it stands without reason. Most craft beer enthusiasts in Southern California recognize the brand at many bottle shops, especially their Dragoons Dry Irish Stout. Beer fans should also keep in mind that Moylan’s also has their line of seasonal beers, which includes the ever-changing White Christmas Spiced Winter Lager. Moylan’s brews a different beer every year for their winter seasonal brew, and this year, they ended up with a spiced winter lager clocking in at 6.0% abv. This smooth lager gets its finish with curacao, mace, cinnamon, coriander, and white pepper. Enjoy this brew on its own, or enjoy it with some salty appetizers.

3. Bootlegger’s Brewery‘s Mint Chocolate Porter

When you think about winter, you imagine visions of snow and cold weather. When eating or drinking, what foods come to mind regarding the cold? Well, to warm up, you have hot beverages like hot chocolate. For a cold feel, you have mints. Why not combine both for mint chocolate? Bootlegger’s Brewery has done that with their Mint Chocolate Porter. Measuring 6.2% abv, this brew truly tastes like mint chocolate candy with its spearmint and herbal hops supported by chocolate malts. Put together, you have a brew with a solid mint feel along with herbal hops, dark malts, brown sugar, and bittersweet chocolate. You cannot find a better way at drinking a mint chocolate candy than with Bootlegger’s Brewery’s Mint Chocolate Porter.

2. Telegraph Brewing Company‘s Winter Ale

For some people in the winter time, they want something strong to kick them back into gear from all the cold weather around. Tons of barrel-aged beers exist out there, but most of those do not have that seasonal feel to them. If you seek something strong yet crave the flavors of the current season, look no further than Telegraph Brewing Company. Telegraph does great things out of their Santa Barbara brewery, keeping up with the times and the tastes of the local population. Along with a decent selection of year-round brews, Telegraph employs a seasonal selection, of which it includes their Winter Ale, a 6.5% winter warmer. With a taste similar to Mexican hot chocolate, this winter warmer will warm you up with its cinnamon, allspice, sweet ancho chilis, and chocolate & caramel malts. Add a little spice to your cool winter nights with this winter warmer, available at your local bottle shop.

1. Ninkasi Brewing‘s Sleigh’r Dark Doüble Alt Ale

Not one to shy away from keeping up with the rapid craft beer movement in California, the Pacific Northwest has rallied up some of the finest minds in the craft beer industry to open up shop in either Washington or Oregon. Breweries like Deschutes and Rogue have helped to put Oregon on the map, and Washington has the nationally-known Pyramid near Seattle. A recent magazine article claims that Washington has over 190 breweries; however, San Diego County alone has over 200! Any craft beer enthusiast should feel ecstatic over the growth of craft beer in other states, especially neighboring ones. It appears that Southern California has already felt that away about out-of-state breweries, especially Ninkasi Brewing. From Eugene, Oregon comes this powerhouse of a micro brewery with an amazing team of people dedicated to the company and its products. Anyone familiar with Golden Road in Los Angeles will definitely see a resemblance here. Although unrelated, they both share the same vision and path, and the customer fan bases prove it. Ninkasi brews a variety of beers, and releases many beers in different series based on its style or strength. For example, customers can only find the 7.2% abv Sleigh’r Dark Doüble Alt Ale during the winter. Other series have to do with the ingredients or style of the beer, such as lagers or the single-hop series. Ninkasi has even gone far enough to devise food recipes utilizing their beers as ingredients. Of course, one could swap out their beers for something similar, but then you cannot call that an official creation of Ninkasi ingenuity. Check with your favorite local craft beer bar to see if they carry Ninkasi on tap, and grab a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

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