With the holidays over, we’re left with the coming months of cold winter weather which typically means you’ll find several seasonal beers only available when the mercury drops.
These beers are often darker, heavier and full-bodied and we’ve included some excellent beers that fit that description below. We’ve also highlighted some tasty, lighter beers sure to fend off the winter blues in our top five winter beers. The complete beer list for Naperville Ale Fest still in the finalization process, but each of the beers below are brewed by breweries and cideries attending the festival.
1: Pollyanna Brewing Eleanor Porter
With a big, chocolatey nose that comes with a hint of dark roasted coffee, this full-bodied porter leaves little to be desired in aroma and flavor. Eleanor pours a fluffy tan head that manages to last well past your first few sips. It’s near-black appearance provides exactly the flavor you would expect, a smooth and creamy chocolate front paired again with notes of coffee and caramel that finishes with just enough hop presence to balance sweetness.
At 6.5% ABV, Eleanor is the perfect companion to get you through the coming months of snow and ice.
- Bell’s Brewing Winter White Ale
This Belgian-inspired wheat beer from Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery is truly a winter treat. A good alternative from dark, heavier winter warmers, Winter White Ale pours a hazy yellow gold with a fluffy white head. The nose is estery, fruity with notes of toasted bread and banana. Light-bodied and smooth, you’ll notice some citrus fruit along with clove that hangs well into the finish. Well-balanced and easy-drinking, Winter White Ale only comes around once a year, making it a must-have before it runs dry at the end of the winter season.
- Uncle John’s Atomic Apple Cinnamon Cider
A dry, tart cider, Uncle John’s Atomic Apple is made with Atomic fireball candies giving it a bright pink color and a bubbly effervescence. While you might think Atomic Fireballs seem like an odd addition that might overwhelm, Atomic Apple balances the acidity of a cider and the spice of cinnamon candy without going over the top. Sweet and festive with a nice dry apple aroma, Atomic Apple is a fun sip that fits both novelty and function at 6.5% ABV that should help bring a little color and spice to help keep things warm.
- Solemn Oath Brewery SnaggleTooth Bandana IPA
IPAs are enjoyed year-round, but few are balanced and winter-ready the way Solemn Oath’s Snaggletooth Bandana is. Slightly hazy with a golden color, this IPA brings a wonderful, juicy aroma of tropical fruit and pineapple that will help you forget how cold it is outside. Notes of grapefruit and orange are apparent at first sip, that moves to a bready malt middle and bitter, dry finish. It’s a straightforward IPA and while it’s a 6.5% ABV beer, it’s an easy drinker that with just enough hop bitterness to quench that nagging hop craving in between stouts and porters.
- 4 Hands Brewing Co. Chocolate Milk Stout
Brewed with two pounds of cacao nibs per barrel, this chocolate milk stout is the chocolate lovers dream. It pours black as midnight and produces a big tan head that leaves a frothy curtain of lace. Every bit a dessert beer, the nose is unmistakably chocolate milkshake with some traces of coffee and roasted malt, but doesn’t overpower with sweetness in flavor. Robust and malt forward, the chocolatey notes lean more towards bitterness with a creamy mouth-feel. It’s a velvety treat that makes the perfect addition to your winter beer haul.
Naperville Winter Ale Fest is a celebration of American Craft Beer in the heart of Chicago. The 2017 fest will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017. Situated on the frozen tundra of Naperville’s Frontier Park – the fest will feature over 120 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. Pull out your long-johns and parkas, it’s time to experience winter’s best craft beers. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks.
Naperville Ale Fest – Winter Edition
Saturday, February 25, 2017
12:00 to 4:00 pm
Frontier Park – Naperville, IL