We've been enjoying some "old" beer lately. I don't mean those high alcohol beers that are traditionally set down in the cellar to age for years. I'm talking about beers that we bought last winter, beer that has been sitting for 9, 10, 11 months. Talk to the average factory beer drinker, and they know you can't let beer sit around that long. But, buy good craft beer and it's entirely possible, with little or no loss in quality.
Around November each year, Clipper City releases its Heavy Seas Winter Storm. I always pick up several cases. Despite this being a winter release, it's a favorite that I enjoy through the summer. The strong malt base and bitter hops hold up quite well. Another favorite around our house is Sierra Nevada Celebration. Released each year around Christmas, Celebration is another one we stockpile when it hits the stores. Even now, months later, the citrusy hop goodness still prevails. At 7.5% and 6.8% alcohol respectfully, these beers aren't your typical suitable for aging beers.
These beers and others are stored in a cool basement, in their closed cases. We keep a few in the beer fridge, chilled and ready to be enjoyed. As we drink them, the fridge is restocked. I expect the stash to be gone about the time this year's releases hit the shelves.
While it may seem odd to be enjoying "winter beers" at the height of the summer, "beer seasons" are simply man-made restrictions. Traditionally, lighter beers such as Pilseners and Hefeweizens are considered summer beers, and while I certainly enjoy them, it's the bold winter flavors that I enjoy the most. So when the time comes for these beers to hit the shelves, I stock up. I'm then able to enjoy these favorites through the summer months.
Of course, these aren't the only two winter releases suitable for summer enjoyment. They just happen to be two of our favorites. What are your favorite seasonal release beers that you keep on hand to enjoy throughout the year?