These seasonal craft beers are sure to put you in the winter spirit. Perhaps inspired by the majestic, snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Colorado brewers excel at winter beers, from ales to stouts. Visit a few Denver breweries this winter to warm up with friends and sample some great seasonal beers, or grab a six pack (or two) to enjoy at home!
1. Hibernation Ale — Great Divide Brewing Co.
Hibernation Ale has been a celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust (8.7% ABV), dry-hopped English-style old ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character. Stop in to Great Divide’s downtown tasting room or RiNo Barrel Bar and get cozy with this brew. There's also an outpost at Denver International Airport to fuel your holiday travels, as well as one south of the city in Castle Rock.
2. Christmas Ale — Breckenridge Brewery
Breckenridge Brewery’s Christmas Ale boasts a winning winter combo of flavor and strength. At 7.1% ABV with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, this holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a roaring fire. Find it at Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery in nearby Littleton or Breckenridge Brewery Ale & Game House in Englewood.
3. Imperial Rye Lager — Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Colorado's first brewpub, located downtown near Union Station, still brews a mean beer! Wynkoop's Imperial Rye Lager (7.8% ABV) is brewed with crystal rye and chocolate rye to create a deeply complex flavor profile of caramel, chocolate and a touch of spice. They let this beer cold-condition for more than two months before tapping, making it crisp and clean. Enjoy this cold weather pour while you can!
4. Graham Cracker Porter — Denver Beer Co.
The brewmaistes at Denver Beer Co. describe this brew as a “campfire in a glass.” The seductive notes of vanilla, smoked cedar and mulling spices make it perfect for a chilly winter evening. With the taste of lush chocolate and a semi-dry finish of roasted malt and biscuit, you’ll soon discover why the Graham Cracker Porter (5.6% ABV) is one of Denver’s favorites. During the winter, DBC ups the ante with the seasonal Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Porter. Drink up at the Platte Street, South Downing, Lowry or Olde Town Arvada taprooms.
5. Old Jubilation Ale — Avery Brewing Company
This winter strong ale from Avery Brewing has a distinctive mahogany hue with hints of hazelnut and a finish reminiscent of mocha and toffee. It's a festive blend of five specialty malts and a great sip during the holiday season. Find it in stores around Denver, or visit their taproom in north Boulder. 8.3% ABV.
6. Wicked Elf — Rock Bottom Brewery
Don't miss this medium-bodied holiday Dubbel, a unique beer with notes of spice, cherries, figs and the holiday spirit. And don't let the name fool you: Rock Bottom Brewery donates 25 cents of every Wicked Elf Ale to Toys for Tots! Maybe it's not so wicked after all? 6.5% ABV.
7. & 8. Slightly ImPeared Sour & Pomegranate Sour — Jagged Mountain Craft Brewing
We couldn't choose between these two sours, both perfectly paired (or, in one case, "peared") to the winter season by Jagged Mountain. Since they both weigh in at just 5% ABV, you can order a pint of each at their RiNo brewery!
9. Joyeux Noel — Diebolt Brewing
This microbrewery in the heart of the Sunnyside neighborhood brews up French-inspired beers all year long, but we especially love Diebolt's holiday-themed Joyeux Noel (8.3% ABV). Darker, stronger and maltier than other Biere de Gardes, this seasonal brew is both delicate and complex, with notes of chocolate and dark fruit from the Belgian Candi Syrup additions, as well as subtle citrus and spice from orange peel and cinnamon sticks.
10. Bring the Greenback — Baere Brewing Company
Spruce up your winter beer list with South Broadway staple Baere Brewing's Bring the Greenback (5% ABV), a sour Berliner Weisse brewed with fresh spruce tips.
11. Big Malty Winter Brew — Strange Craft Beer Company
This gluten-reduced seasonal English-style strong ale (7.5% ABV) from Strange Craft features seven different malts plus local honey to bring unique character and warmth. Find it at their Zuni Street taproom near Empower Field at Mile High.
12. Ice Cutter Kölsch — Joyride Brewing Company
A gold medalist at the 2022 World Beer Cup and a silver medalist at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, Joyride Brewing's Ice Cutter Kölsch (5.2% ABV) is a crisp, cold ode to Thomas Sloan, for whom Sloan's Lake is named. Every winter after Thomas Sloan flooded his farm, he would cut ice from the lake and sell it to local breweries. Since most brewers in the day were of German descent, Kölsch-style beers like this one were likely produced. Raise a glass to the past at the brewery's Edgewater taproom.
13. Slow Burn — Comrade Brewing Co.
On the coldest days, sometimes it take a little heat to really warm the bones. Get the job done with this American pale ale infused with jalapenos from Comrade Brewing in southeast Denver! 6.1% ABV.
14. Blizzard Beast — TRVE Brewing Co.
Heavy metal and heavy hitters like this winter warmer ale with blackberry and fig purees (7.5% ABV) are what Broadway's TRVE Brewing Co. is all about.
15. Isolation Ale — Odell Brewing Company
This sweet caramel winter warmer from Odell Brewing is imbued with premium malts imported from England and balanced by a crisp hop finish, making it an excellent choice for those chilly winter nights. And at just 6% ABV, it's less boozy than your typical winter warmer! Try it at the Five Points or Sloan's Lake brewhouses, in additional to their original location in Fort Collins.
16. Accumulation IPA — New Belgium Brewing Company
Who says winter beers have to be dark and heavy? New Belgium's Accumulation IPA (6.5% ABV) — stacked with Mosaic, Lotus, Strata and El Dorado hops — is as cold and refreshing as that first snowfall of the season. In addition to their big brewery in Fort Collins, New Belgium has a brewery inside The Source in RiNo, and you can order their beers upstairs at The Woods.