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Drink local craft beers this winter. Photo by Mike Tish

5 Colorado Brews To Warm Up With This Winter

Whether you’ve been naughty, nice, or just don’t give a damn—these local brews make a great match for the season's festivities.

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Winter is here, and Colorado breweries are ready to welcome it with an impressive lineup of new brews and old favorites. So once again, we’re here with a short list of our favorite picks for the season. Kick off your boots, light a fire, and be sure to snag a few (or all, if you can) of these great brews from five Colorado breweries.

Avery Brewing’s Fimbulvvinter

Style: Belgian-Style Strong Ale
Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle
ABV: 16.9 percent
Hop Meter* (1–10): 3.5
Malt Meter (1–10): 7

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Fimbulvvinter, the last addition to Avery Brewing’s barrel-aged series, is a beast. It’s a Belgian-style strong ale that’s been aged in rum barrels, which provides a warming spice alongside its nearly 17 percent ABV. Fimbulvvinter, which is named after the harsh, three-year-long winter that precedes the end of days in Norse mythology, seems to be brewed specifically with those conditions in mind. But it should fare just as well for a mild Colorado winter.

Bonfire Brewing’s Fixed Grip Saison

Style: Farmhouse Ale / Saison
Serving Type: 12-ounce can
ABV: 5.4 percent
Hop Meter (1–10): 6.5
Malt Meter (1–10): 4

It’s hardly surprising that Bonfire Brewing, located in Eagle, Colorado, is a brewery with strong skiing roots. According to Rad Craft Beer’s Emily Hutto, co-owner Amanda Jessen’s grandfather was one of the original investors in Vail Mountain. While he serves as the inspiration for the memorable artwork on Bonfire’s Fixed Grip Saison can, it’s the beer itself—a light, fruity farmhouse ale—that’s easily the most drinkable brew on this list—that should make it a staple for ski-bums everywhere.

Copper Kettle’s Naja Imperial Red IPA

Style: Imperial Red Ale
Serving Type: 22-ounce bottle
ABV: 9 percent
Hop Meter (1–10): 8
Malt Meter (1–10): 6

This is the hoppiest beer in our list, but Copper Kettle expertly balanced those flavors with malts that are almost equally strong. The resulting beer is one that starts sweet but finishes dry and bitter (this beer brings 110 IBUs to the table). The Naja is true to the imperial style in that it provides huge flavor without an ABV that’s as high as, say, a barrel-aged beer—making it a perfect gift for the hop-lovers in your family.

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Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptista

Style: Imperial Stout
Serving Type: 22-ounce bomber
ABV: 12 percent
Hop Meter (1–10): 2
Malt Meter (1–10): 8

Buyers should expect a strong flavor profile from Epic’s 2017 iteration of its “rare release,” the Big Bad Baptista. The imperial-style stout shines thanks to a strong presence of Mexican chocolate and coffees roasted for the brewery by Blue Copper Coffee in Salt Lake City. The resulting beer is dark, creamy, and strong enough to warm up anyone who’s looking to replace hot chocolate with beer on a chilly December night.

Lone Tree’s English Old Ale

Style: Christmas/Winter Ale
Serving Type: 22-ounce bomber
ABV: 8 percent
Hop Meter (1–10): 2.5
Malt Meter (1–10): 8

This beer was made for the holiday season. Lone Tree brewers blended ginger, allspice, cinnamon, caramel, and nutmeg into their English Old Ale, and the result is something of a lovechild between a strong ale and your favorite Christmas dessert. It’s dark and aromatic, but the presence of cinnamon keeps it from being too sweet. The overall balance makes it no surprise that Lone Tree’s English Old Ale was ranked as the 15th-best Christmas beer of 2017 by Paste, but we’d drink it all season long.

*Both the hop and malt meters exist within the writer’s beer palate. Be jealous. 

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