Craft Beer Academy's Top 5 Winter Beers

jpegTop five lists are always a difficult thing to judge. When forced to whittle down an impossibly large field of great offerings to merely five options the result is going to be largely an exercise in opinion. Attempting to objectively choose the top five albums of all time might be an exercise in futility but knowing a person’s top five album list gives a great insight into the preferences of an individual.

It is in that spirit that I wanted to take a look at Craft Beer Academy’s Top Five Winter Beers. They recently laid out a list for those beer that you should have enjoyed this winter season with a justification about what makes them so great.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have four of the five beers on their list and think each beer they have honored is a delicious and fine choice even if I have additions of my own. But before we get into my opinions let’s make a look at the list.

  1. Tröeg’s Mad Elf
  2. 21st Amendment Fireside Chat
  3. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
  4. Southern Tier 2X Christmas
  5. Anchor Christmas

I’ve had the first four in the list and find them to be amazing beers. I have had a few beers from Anchor and found them to be quality beers so I have no qualms with assuming that their Christmas Ale is equally delicious. I do have some reservations with this list though.

My first and only real objection is the lack of Sixpoint’s Global Warmer. While this is a fledgling entry to the winter beer market it was a shockingly refreshing beer. I went into sampling this beer with low expectations as I generally dislike winter warmers and was blown away by a very interest take on the style. It was clean, crisp, and light with just enough earthy hop wallop and a dash of spiciness to be a winter warmer. If I were to be crafting this list Global Warmer would be a requisite addition.

I know people rave about Mad Elf but I have never found it to be a superior beer. I think the overly sweet of the honey, cherries, and chocolate malts makes for an interesting taste that might be something worth exploring but the strong 11% ABV that is quite obvious in this beer has, to me, always been a huge detriment to this beer.

Similarly, though less so, I think the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout is weakened by its intense alcohol burn/flavor. I have had this a few times in the past and have enjoyed it but I think the big alcohol punch actually detracts from the beer instead of elevating it.

Both the Fireside Chat and the 2X Christmas are amazing beers that I consider to be top-notch winter beers. These aren’t the sort of beers that I want to drink in the summer but in the cold nights of December and January I would be content to have either of these beers on hand.

But this is just my humble opinion and I’m curious to know what you think of this list and my addition. Leave a comment below with what your top five winter beers would be? What did I miss?