Here in northeast Indiana, just as we all were dreaming of an early spring with early January temps in the 50’s and 60’s, Mother Nature’s pendulum swung back to “Deep Freeze” with a 40 degree drop in temperature over 24 hours. We won’t say the change was welcome, but the timing did set us in the mood for the first in a string of winter beer festivals.
Winter beer festivals have a different feel than the summertime variety. By necessity (at least here in the Midwest), you’ll find them indoors or in a heated tent. If you’re really lucky, you’ll also find an outdoor fire pit or fireplace surrounded by merry beer drinkers with booze-pinked cheeks. Since chilly temperatures typically drive away all but the truly dedicated craft beer drinkers, “beer tourists” or non-beer drinkers that get dragged along by their friends, are minimal.
The most obvious difference from summertime festivals however is the beer itself. The event that we are attending today at Fort Wayne pub called J.K. O’Donnell’s
, is appropriately called the Winter Warmer. For those of you not familiar with the term, a winter warmer is a somewhat nondescript term used for any winter seasonal, although most winter warmers favor a big malty backbone, and are frequently spiced, barrel aged or high in alcohol content (alcohol by volume or ABV) – or all three! Big flavors predominate, with caramel, dark fruits, and roasty notes commonly found. You’re not going to find many lagers or session ales, but pale ale lovers don’t be disheartened, usually a heavy English ale can be found at more than one booth because well, ABV. So if you are going to a winter beer festival, pack an extra liver and pace yourself. For our part, a staple of our winter beer festival line up is the Monster Smash Marsh-mellow Stout
. It’s big at 11.3% ABV and full of all those roasty, caramel notes from toasted marshmallows.
Want to visit Trubble Brewing at an upcoming festival? You can also find us at the Indy Winterfest in Indianapolis February 3rd
or at Bluffton Indiana’s Brrr Fest on February 24th
. The Indy Winterfest is organized by the Brewers of Indiana Guild and attendance is a great way to support all Indiana craft breweries. You can purchase tickets here.
Cheers and safe festival going,