A Beer For All Seasons

Our beer-y taste buds change with the weather—but Colorado’s craft brewers cater to our seasonal whimsies. Here, our top 24 beers: six each for summer, autumn, winter, and spring. 

August 2011


  • Winter Warlock Oatmeal Stout
    Bristol Brewing Company, Colorado Springs
    Malt Meter: 8
    Hops Meter: 3
    ABV: 6.0 percent

    Not quite as sweet as Left Hand’s Milk Stout, and not quite as bombastic as Great Divide’s Yeti, Winter Warlock offers a beautiful middle ground when it comes to wintry stouts. Each batch is brewed with 100 pounds of flaked oatmeal, and the result is a roasty, drinkable brew with notes of toasted coconut. It may not sub for your McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal, but it’s pretty close. bristolbrewing.com


  • Old Jubilation
    Avery Brewing Company, Boulder
    Malt Meter: 8
    Hops Meter: 3
    ABV: 8.3 percent

    This isn’t a beer you’ll want to drink every day (although it’s plenty good enough to do so), but it is a brew that feels perfectly suited for the holiday season. Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus…frankly, we don’t care what you celebrate. When you do, stoke the fireplace and serve Old Jubilation, a strong, reddish-amber ale brewed with five specialty malts. Your guests won’t be disappointed. averybrewing.com


  • Rocky Mountain IPA
    The Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 7
    ABV: 6.3 percent

    Sometimes, usually during the depths of winter after the holidays have come and gone, we need a little reminder that spring is on the way. When that time comes, we reach for this IPA, a floral brew that brings to mind wildflowers, grapefruit, and warm weather and lets us transition from our ski boots to our Chacos. fortcollinsbrewery.com


  • Milk Stout
    Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont
    Malt Meter: 8
    Hops Meter: 2
    ABV: 6.0 percent

    Milk? In your beer? Well, sort of. Milk stouts, like Left Hand’s version, use lactose, a sugar that comes from milk, in the brewing process. The result is a slightly sweet yet bitter treat, like a dark cup of coffee with a little bit of cream. Warning: As much as we love this dark brew, we don’t recommend drinking it with your cereal at seven in the morning—wait for cookies before bed. lefthandbrewing.com


  • Odell Red
    Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 6
    Hops Meter: 6
    ABV: 6.5 percent

    A quintessential winter beer (it’s only available on shelves from January to April), this red provides an ample malt backbone to support the bright, but not overdone, hop flavor. And instead of a pale IPA or a dark stout, its ruddy color looks, dare we say it, celebratory. odellbrewing.com


  • Yeti Imperial Stout
    Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver
    Malt Meter: 10
    Hops Meter: 7
    ABV: 9.5 percent

    This is one beastly brew, and Great Divide has capitalized on the clever moniker with all sorts of Yeti-themed merchandise, including, yes, a Yeti “I Believe” baby onesie. But you don’t build a mini empire (Great Divide also offers four seasonal variations) without a stellar product, and the flagship is everything a true imperial stout should be: big, bold, strong—and, like its namesake, just a little bit frightening. greatdivide.com


  • BONUS BOMBER: Le Terroir
    New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 4
    Hops Meter: 5
    ABV: 7.5 percent

    With a name that means “of the earth” in French, you might think that New Belgium has taken up wine making. Not so: This American Wild Ale (a sour beer) is complex thanks to wood-barrel aging, and is a delicious alternative to dark winter ales. newbelgium.com