What’s a chicken’s favorite beer? BOCK! My clever husband came up with that one last evening, at The Local Winter Fest, while enjoying a Chuckanut Brewery Bock Lager. It’s no joke—any man, woman or chicken who enjoys a strong, dark, roasty brew on a chilly winter evening would agree that the Chuckanut Bock is a great example of why winter warmers were invented.
I, for one, was very excited to learn that The Local—that cozy downtown Public House known for its stellar beer selection—was planning a Winter Fest, with all 17 taps featuring winter ales, lagers and ciders.
All seven Whatcom County breweries were represented, so I started with a sampler of six, and counted on the clever one to supply me with sips of the seventh from his pint glass.
My first round of tastes included:
- Menace Brewing Ugly Sweater: I love this one. It’s always consistently full-bodied, with just the right balance (for me) of malt and hops. Easy to drink, too. 7.5 ABV
- Aslan Brewing 542 Winter Warmer: Organic, of course (all Aslan brews are), this is an Imperial Alt style ale of medium body with a nice finish. 7.0 ABV
- Boundary Bay Brewery Cabin Fever Bourbon Barrel Aged: Boundary did a nice job barrel-aging their winter classic, Cabin Fever. It’s dark brown, strong and flavorful, and packs a punch at 8.5 ABV.
- Kulshan Brewing Kitten Mittens: This is a popular winter beer, with folks pining for it the rest of the year. KM has a rich flavor of brown sugar/molasses, but it’s not too sweet. 7.1 ABV
- The North Fork Brewery Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: Brewer Eric Jorgensen scored again with this one, which was aged for six months in two different barrels. We all tasted a strong flavor of whiskey (I called it whiskey-flavored beer), but luckily, Eric was there to correct us—we tasted the barrel, which infused the beer with flavors of coconut, vanilla and oak, like one tastes in a barrel-aged whiskey. Of course!
- Wander Brewing Barley Humbug: Both malty and fruity, quite smooth and enjoyable. I would like to revisit this one, but I hear it’s going fast.
- Chuckanut Brewery Bock Lager: A beautiful beer, dark in color with a nicely rounded flavor.
Between the seven of us, many other regional winter warmers were tasted, from Machine House (Seattle) Winter on cask, to Cascade Lakes (Oregon) Winter on nitro. It’s always fun to pass the pints around and share tastes with your friends, which makes events like this one way too good to pass up.
To make it even better, The Local was raffling off brewery swag, like t-shirts, pint glasses, growlers and a sweet vacuum insulated stainless steel growler that went home with us, thanks to a generous friend who gave us her winning ticket.
Even though we’re barely halfway through winter (although around here, it’s been feeling more like spring of late), you don’t want to wait too long for a chance to try a winter warmer from your favorite Whatcom County brewery. Availability depends on supply and demand, and the latter is usually pretty high. So don’t delay!
Thanks to The Local for putting on such a fun and delicious beer sampling adventure!
The Local Winter Fest + friends = win.