Derek Warren

DRINK IT DOWN: Winter Lager by Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

DRINK IT DOWN: Winter Lager by Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)
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Beer: Winter Lager

Brewer: Boston Brewing Company (Samuel Adams)

Style: Bock

ABV: 5.60%

Description: Sam Adams’ Winter Lager pours a clear dark ruby brown with a frothy khaki head that leaves behind a thick web lacing on the glass. The aroma has sticky sweet caramel malt notes up front, with roasted malts with hints of cinnamon and citrus in the background. This truly is a perfect winter beer.

The taste follows the nose with a decadently smooth and sweet caramel malt flavor hitting the palate first, followed by hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus that coat the palate before leaving a long semi-dry finish. There is a definite sweetness, but it is far from cloying. Winter Lager is a very smooth and an easy-drinking bock that anyone can enjoy. The medium-full mouthfeel and moderate carbonation aid in this beer’s smooth, easy-drinking qualities.

Winter Lager is one of Sam Adams’ first seasonal beers and is still one of their best, if not the best, seasonal offering that is eagerly awaited each year.

Food pairing: As winter begins to encroach upon us, warm, hearty foods find their place on our tables, and Winter Lager makes the perfect accompaniment to all of them. Try pairing it with hearty roasted chicken or duck; the natural caramelization of the meat will melt into the delicious malt bill while the spices will sink their teeth into the fresh juices of perfectly roasted meat. If you are a bit more adventurous with your meat, try Winter Lager with wild boar sausages, venison medallions, or elk. Any gamey flavors from the meat will be dissipated by the wonderfully sweet malt bill, and the beer has enough body and carbonation to scrub the palate clean between bites.

Even when the holidays fade in the rearview mirror, there is usually an abundance of holiday sweets still hanging around. While we often make the claim that we will not have another one, we all know that we will, and Winter Lager makes a great pairing. Gingerbread cookies are undoubtedly the ruler of all the holiday cookies, and they also serve as the perfect counterpart to Winter Lager, so don’t be afraid to pile them high with icing!

The final word: Sam Adams is a brewery that needs no introduction to beer lovers. Their beers are known throughout the world, and they have been brewing their delicious Winter Lager since 1989. Their brews far predate the current craft beer craze, placing them far ahead of any trends within the craft beer market.

The wonderfully smooth body and subtle spicing make Winter Lager the perfect seasonal beer. It has enough heft to help keep you warm on a cold winter night, but not too much that it causes you to pass out on the couch. This is also one of their most popular beers with craft beer aficionados, newbies, and even non-craft beer devotees, all showing their love for this delicious brew. The flavors are strong but balanced with a smooth body that offers something for everyone. While the craft beer industry has grown in leaps and bounds since this beer was first brewed, it is still just as delicious today and remains a great way to celebrate the winter season.

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Where can I get it? Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Beer Boys (176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre), Backyard Ale House (523 Linden St., Scranton), State Street Grill (114 S. State St., Clarks Summit), Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar (1925 Wyoming Ave., Exeter), and Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer (720 Wilkes-Barre Twp. Blvd., Wilkes-Barre).

Also available on draft at: The Loading Dock Bar & Grill (1206 Harry P. O’Neill Hwy., Dunmore), The Nyx (218 Depot St., Clarks Summit), and Uno Pizzeria and Grill (3905 Commerce Blvd., Dickson City).

Drink It Down is a weekly column that doesn’t just review beer – it provides the full experience of going out and enjoying a quality craft brew. Look for it on Mondays exclusively on NEPA Scene.