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101 Beer Experiences: Drink in winter

Bundle up! A little snow won't stop these one-of-a-kind, cold-weather beer events.
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 Photo of Kerstbierfestival in Essen, Germany, by Joe Stange

Photo of Kerstbierfestival in Essen, Germany, by Joe Stange

Winter weather also happens to be great beer drinking weather, when you can focus on big, boozy brews and not have to worry about quenching your thirst in the sunshine. Grab a hat and head out for a winter beer adventure:

Virtually every Belgian brewery makes a special winter or Christmas beer—often strong, often spiced and sometimes weird. December’s Kerstbierfestival, inside a kitschy, breweriana-festooned events hall in Essen, Belgium, gathers them all—more than 150 different holiday beers last year—including glühkriek, a warmed cherry lambic that’s similar to mulled wine.

Ice fishing involves a lot of waiting around for the fish to bite; in the meantime, the beer cooler might run low. If you’re on one of the many frozen lakes near Ely, Minnesota, Ely Safe Ride provides a beer delivery service for ice fishermen. Customers call one of the liquor stores in town, pay for their orders over the phone and then ring up an Ely Safe Ride driver to grab their beers and deliver them to the shack.

Vail boasts some of the best ski slopes in the world; combine that with the tastiest big beers on earth, and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable winter weekend. Now in its 15th year, Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines (Jan. 7-9, 2016) delivers soul-warming brews with no shortage of imperial stouts and barrel-aged beauties; if you don’t see the brewers on the slopes, you’ll get to chat with them at the fest where they pour their own brews.


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