As the seasons change in Washington DC, so do the beers! It’s that time of year with sweater weather and limited daylight. Time to swap out the ice cold, light beers in favor of dark, heavy-bodied brews that are best savored slowly. In preparation for the frigid temperatures, we’ve selected the best beer styles to sip on. Plus, we’ve provided some local Washington DC breweries where you can stock up. Each of these beers has its own bold taste with high enough alcohol content to get you through the holiday season.

Stout: When thinking of a “winter beer” many people’s minds jump immediately to stouts. This style is brewed using unmalted roasted barley, giving it a strong coffee flavor. Other notable tastes associated with stouts are chocolate and caramel and they are dark brown to black in color. Most are heavy-bodied and smooth with a high ABV leaving the drinker feeling warm and full.

Where to find it:
● District Chophouse & Brewery – Oatmeal Stout (Oatmeal Stout)
● Silver Branch Brewing Co. – Chronicle (Tropical Stout)

Porter: In the 1700’s, the first porters were brewed by combining an “old ale”, “mild ale” and “new ale” in England. While very similar to stouts, porters have a slightly lighter mouthfeel and color. The ABV range is between 4%-6% and porters can have a dark reddish brown to light brown. Porters are brewed with malted barley, giving them a roasted malt taste combined with chocolate, caramel, nuts, or toffee.

Where to find it:
● 3 Stars Brewing Co. – Pandemic (Imperial Porter)
● Red Bear Brewing Co. – DC Dirt (American Porter)

Strong Ales: Creating one-of-a-kind brews is a trend circulating within the craft beer industry, and sometimes a single style doesn’t cut it. Strong Ale is the unofficial category of beers with an ABV over 7%. Some may even reach 20%. Many have extra hops and malt content and/or are barrel aged which contribute to these high-gravity brews. Because of this, Strong Ales are best paired with a bite to eat. These beers are especially popular around the winter months, serving as seasonal special-release brews.

Where to find it: Port City Brewing Co. – Tidings® Ale (Belgian Strong Golden Ale)

Want to taste all three of these wintery brews in one day? Hop on a City Brew Tour! Visit 3 or 4 breweries and learn all about the local Washington DC beer-making process while tasting 12-16 craft brews. There’s always something great on tap at every brewery we visit. A Brew Tour is the best way to try as many new styles as possible, because you drink and we drive!

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