Six Great Beers to Drink this Winter

Words: Karl Tessendorf

Winter has finally descended and we couldn’t be happier. It’s the perfect time to pig out on comfort food and drink hearty beers that smack you around the chops with big flavour. Here are our top six picks to get you going on your winter craft beer journey.

Innis & Gunn Original

Innis & Gunn are known for their oak-aged beers and this was the one that started it all. It’s still brewmaster Dougal’s favourite and if it’s good enough for a Scottish winter, it’s good enough for ours. The original is a classic Scottish ale that’s matured for 77 days over bourbon casks to give it a distinctly oaky character. It’s full of caramel and roasted malt aromas and jammed with toffee character and a subtle, fruity hop finish. Warm up this winter with a wee dram or six.

Jack Black Lumberjack

It may be winter but we still need to braai. So the next time you’re standing out there alone trying to braai your choppies with a headlamp, make sure you’ve got a Lumberjack by your side. Lumberjack has a deep red hue with a rich, roasted malt character up front. It’s backed by a truckload of hops to give it a fresh citrus and pine quality with a snappy 40 IBUs. It’s got enough body to get you through those cold evenings, and goes great with any meat you happen to be braaing.

Darling Black Mist

Black Mist is what brewmaster Felix and all the Darling employees drink after a hard day’s work. It’s a brooding black ale that’s bursting with aromas of roasted nuts, coffee and caramel. The aromas follow through onto the palate with layers of roasted malt that develop into flavours of coffee and chocolate. It’s easy to see why this black ale is Felix’s favourite. It’s wall to wall flavour yet it still feels light and easy drinking.

Wild Clover Double Owl

The Double Owl is Wild Clover’s flagship beer and it’s also brewmaster Ampie’s favourite. It’s a European style brown ale that’s designed to help you relax and forget the woes of the day. It has a fresh citrus and subtle floral nose that’s complemented by caramel and burnt sugar notes. On the palate it’s all nuts and biscuit flavours and it has a lingering, subtle bittersweet finish. We highly recommend enjoying this one on a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire with a bag of roasted nuts.

CBC Imperial IPA

Cape Brewing Company’s Imperial has become legendary in South Africa’s craft beer scene. It’s a hefty 7.5% ABV intense hop bomb that delivers an 80 IBU payload of American hops. It’s packed full of gooseberry and passionfruit flavours, complemented by fresh cut grass flavours and backed with a malty character. It’s big, boozy and it’ll warm your soul and your cheeks this frosty winter.

Brewdog Jet Black Heart

Every so often you taste a beer that makes you rock back on your heels then whip forward for another sip. For us it was this brew from the lads at Brewdog. Jet Black Heart is ridiculously good. It’s silky smooth and has a full, rich mouthfeel. It’s rammed full of chocolate and coffee flavours with subtle fruit undertones. We’ve always been suckers for milk stouts and Jet Black Heart has – wait for it because here comes the cheese – stolen our hearts…

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