The beer: Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer
Brewery: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. in Fort Worth
Style: Winter warmer, in the English dark ale style. Winter warmers are big malty beers with high alcohol content, characterized by malty sweetness and low levels of hops bitterness. Although American winter warmers are often heavily flavored with holiday baking spices, many English versions contain no spice.
The pitch: This balanced, boozy beer shows dark cherry and dried plum fruit flavors, laced with dark toffee. Aging in bourbon barrels imparts vanilla and oak notes that carry into the finish. A restrained dose of earthy English hops provides a good counterpoint to the malty sweetness. Despite the high alcohol content (10 percent ABV), it's surprisingly easy to drink.
Fun fact: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. releases a different winter warmer each year, and makes changes to the label as well.
Serve it, pair it: Although enjoyable on its own, this ale is dynamite with chocolate truffles or other dark chocolate candy. The brewery suggests pairing it with Snickers candy bars and Brie, Gouda, Havarti or Swiss cheese. For the best flavor, let it warm up a bit after taking it out of the refrigerator -- the brewery recommends serving it at around 52 F.
Get some: This seasonal, limited release is sold in 22-ounce bombers for about $11.99 at liquor stores, specialty supermarkets and other stores with large craft beer departments.
Tina Danze is a freelance writer. Follow here on Twitter @Tina Danze.