Cold weather list: Flannel onesie? Check. Big furry blanket? Wrapped around me now. Fuzzy socks? On my feet. Uggs? Of course. “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones,” “Sherlock,” and “House of Cards” cued for binging? Definite check.
With shivery temperatures lingering in our tropical paradise, we San Diegans are semi-frozen to our couches in meteorological confusion. When we are colder than New York, it’s Mother Nature gone loco. In the meantime, zip up that Snuggie, grab a loved one and burrow under the covers with these local blanket-worthy beers. All clocking in at a whopping 10 percent ABV or above, they are sure to warm you from your insides to the tips of your chilly toes.
(Note: Most of these are on draft only, so rinse out the growlers and head to the breweries for these favorites.)
Acoustic Ales Westbound and Down (10 percent ABV): This Belgian-style quad hits on all four corners. It is rich and luscious, with notes of molasses, toffee, raisin and tobacco. It’s like sitting on a plush velvet couch with a faux fur blanket. Perfect for a snuggle-filled evening of fresh-baked cookies and HBO.
Alesmith Hawaiian Speedway Stout (12 percent ABV): Put your bikini on underneath your flannel onesie and go to the tropics in your mind with this dreamy version of the classic. Brewed with toasted coconut, vanilla beans and Ka’u coffee from Hawaii, you’ll be planning your next vacation from the cozy confines of your couch.
Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout (11 percent ABV): Heavier than a Woolrich blanket, this behemoth pours out somewhere between espresso and used motor oil. Truckloads of rich chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dark, black fruits launch a blitzkrieg on your senses. Not for the faint of heart, sip this one gently while watching the evils of Frank Underwood or James Moriarty. PS: If you are lucky enough to have the bourbon barrel-aged Angel’s Share (12.5 percent) in your cellar, it’s another perfect winter choice.
Port Brewing Old Viscosity (10 percent ABV): Not for the weak-minded, the OV has been described as “thick and sludgy like oil from a crankcase of a threshing combine.” With monstrous notes of coffee beans, chocolate, molasses and brown sugar, it’s been given the nickname “The Big Black Nasty” by its brewers. Who needs a blanket?
Stone 2015 Chai Spiced Imperial Russian Stout (10.6 percent ABV): Put down your hot tea and pick up the beer version. Modeled after the delicious hot drink, this twist on Stone’s popular stout uses cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper and black tea. Don’t forget to have the classic barleywine, Old Guardian, (11.2 percent ABV) on hand too for blustery coastal nights.
Other must-try warmers: 32 North Brewing Russian Imperial Stout (10.5 percent ABV), Bagby Bruges Cruise Belgian Dark (11.4 percent ABV) Green Flash Barleywine (10 percent ABV)
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.