With the winter season approaching, it's not just the weather that will change.
People often crave different flavors, and local brewers are well aware of that.
“One of the fun parts of being a brewer is to produce new seasonal choices for our customers to enjoy,” said Tom Uban, of Figure Eight Brewing in Valparaiso. “The winter months often tend toward bigger beers, and this year will be no different.”
Figure Eight has two Belgian style beers planned for the winter — Devil's Drip, a Belgian-style Tripel Ale, and Transcendent, a Belgian-style Quadrupel.
Devil's Drip is 11.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) and Transcendent has a 12.8% ABV.
“I have always enjoyed Belgian styles as the layers of flavor excite one's taste buds and change so much as the beer warms while sipping,” Uban said, “The bouquet on the nose is also a delight.”
Uban said “everyone loves a big and bold stout,” and Figure Eight delivers with its Black Corridor Imperial Chocolate Stout with an ABV of 10.5%.
“Black Corridor is ever so much more than just a stout. The imperial, robust body and chocolaty smoothness is amazing. The rich flavors are so much more pronounced and keep one wanting for the next sip,” Uban said.
Customers shouldn't wait to try the winter beers.
“We only do small batches of our seasonals, so they won't last long and we will be on to other fun and exciting new beer,” Uban said.
He said Figure Eight is thinking ahead to spring when a portion of the Black Corridor batch aged in Journeyman Whiskey barrels with vanilla beans will be ready.
Zack Bryan, of Crown Brewing in Crown Point, agrees people often turn to darker and stronger beers as the weather gets colder and the days become shorter.
Bryan said one of the Crown's popular winter offerings is its Winter Warlock Spiced Brown Ale, which has an ABV of 7%.
He said Crown Brewing will start offering Winter Warlock before Thanksgiving, and it should remain available into January.
Bryan said Crown Brewing also is collaborating with the Northwest Regional SWAT Team to brew Door Kickerz, a double IPA that will be donated for the team's annual fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Halls of St. George in Schererville.
Bryan said members of the SWAT team will help brew the beer, which is expected to have an ABV around 8%.
“That's pretty exciting for us,” Bryan said of the opportunity to brew with the SWAT team.
The Northwest Regional SWAT Team includes officers from several local agencies, and it relies on fundraisers to upgrade its equipment and for training purposes.
Like other local breweries, Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City will feature darker beers that are sought after during the winter months.
Nic Girouard, head brewer at Shoreline, said the Lost Sailor Imperial Stout has an ABV around 10%, and it features flavors of chocolate and coffee.
“It's a bigger beer,” Girouard said.
For those looking for something slightly lighter, Shoreline offers Beltaine Scottish Ale which isn't as dark as the stout and has an ABV around 6%.
The ale has an amber color and features hints of caramel.
“It's a great one for winter,” he said.