The Best New Microbrew Beers For Winter

Crack open one of these stellar cold-weather microbrews.

(Sierra Nevada)

Opening up your beer fridge in winter actually has more in common than you might think with opening up your winter wardrobe. You’re shifting gears, layering up with one of the best puffer jackets and wearing one of the freshest seasonal colognes, and things are quite literally heating up when it comes to what you’re sipping, too.

We’re not talking about a Hot Toddy or a warming bourbon, although those are exceptional options to have close at hand in the frigid months. The best winter microbrews tend to embrace the charms of the season, from rich barrel-aged stouts to clean and crisp IPAs that call to mind a cool day on the slopes.

There are options made for smooth sipping and options made to go a few rounds (responsibly), but the best winter beers have one thing in common: They’re a must-have for your fridge, for the first days of winter, the holiday season and beyond.

Wicked Weed Milk & Cookies

(Wicked Weed)

You’ll notice that the best winter beers, unlike light and fast-flowing summer beers, are meant to be savored. And this rich Imperial Stout delivers on that front, with golden raisins, vanilla and cinnamon. Snag a six-pack when you can—it’s a reliably good winter sipper. $15.49/6-pack

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2023

(Sierra Nevada)

Year-round, Sierra Nevada’s famed Pale Ale and its fast-selling Hazy Little Thing IPA are worth working into your beer rotation. But there’s one time of year when Sierra Nevada Celebration shines through, and that’s the winter months. If you treasure bright hop character and flavor so fresh, it’s as if you’re sipping a can right off the line, then Celebration is the beer for you. Among the rest of the best winter beers, it’s a palate pleaser that pairs exceptionally well with gourmet winter fare. $14.49/6-pack

Bell’s Oberon Eclipse

(Bell’s Brewery)

The arrival of Bell’s Oberon is sometimes heralded as the proper start of spring. But what’s a beer enthusiast to do when Oberon goes out of season? Bell’s just solved that problem handily, using citrus notes to add more character and depth to the refreshing Oberon. The medium-body, clean finish is even slightly warming, and it’s every bit as pleasant as OG Oberon. $13.49/6-pack

Brooklyn Brewery x Four Roses Black Ops 2023

(Brooklyn Brewery x Four Roses)

There are rich and roasty winter beers, and then there’s the next level, and a level beyond even that: Black Ops is that ultra-rich brew. This year’s edition of Black Ops is aged in legendary Four Roses bourbon barrels for nine months, bolstering this Russian Imperial Stout’s milk chocolate flavor profile with lovely bourbon notes. It’s an indulgent beer available in limited quantities, so keep an eye out. $17.49/4-pack

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Angel’s Envy Two-Year Finish Cask Stout

(Goose Island Brewing Company)

Beer connoisseurs await the release of Goose Island’s ultra-premium, ultra-rich Bourbon County Brand release lineup every year, and 2023’s version saw Goose Island take an even bigger leap forward. For the first time, the Chicago-based brewery aged its stout for two years: One year in Angel’s Envy casks (bourbon lovers rejoice), followed by another year of finishing in ruby port barrels. The results are remarkably complex, rare and worth the higher price tag per bottle. Savor this beer as long as you can. $39.99/bottle

Oskar Blues Dale’s Light Lager

(Oskar Blues)

Lagerheads, rejoice: There are still crisp, crushable beer options out there in the colder months, especially useful if you feel like imbibing without going too heavy. And Oskar Blues, perhaps best known for its pioneering Dale’s Pale Ale, gets in on the (ongoing) lager resurgence with this new, exceptionally drinkable light lager boasting just 95 calories. See? There’s a winter beer for everyone out there. $21.99/15-pack

Anderson Valley Huge Arker Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout

(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Breweries continue to go all-in on barrel-aging their suds for the winter months, and that’s probably an understatement when it comes to Huge Arker (so named because “ark” means to “wreck something”). In fact, this whopping 15.5 percent ABV brew is banned in seven states, thanks to its high-voltage booze content. It goes through a minimum of 12 months of bourbon barrel-aging, and the result is an absurdly delicious, complex beer to be shared among friends. $14.99/4-pack

Stone Xocoveza 2023

(Stone Brewing)

Want to really warm yourself up on a frigid winter day? Save the whiskey for another time and opt instead for an Imperial Stout that gets its character from Mexican hot chocolate. That’s no joke: Everything from vanilla and nutmeg to cinnamon (and touches of peppers) grace this delightfully warming beer in a characteristically bold Stone Brewing can. $20/6-pack

Ommegang Everything Naughty

(Brewery Ommegang)

Especially apt for the holiday season but enjoyable just about any time across a blustery winter, Ommegang threw practically everything but the kitchen sink into Everything Naughty. White chocolate and roasted coffee deliver incredible sweetness, nicely complemented by a distinct golden color. It’s an indulgence on par with the best winter beers. $17.25/4-pack

Firestone Walker Parabola 2023

(Firestone Walker)

Bourbon fiends can debate at length about the most coveted bottles on the market and who’s really up to par in the category. But what about when some of those same lauded barrels (in this case, from Blanton’s and from Weller wheated bourbon) are used to amplify a beer to intense levels? Well, that helps explain the fervor around Parabola 2023, which Firestone Walker calls “a beast of a beer.” They’re certainly not wrong. $12.79/bottle