Sunday, July 3, 2022

Brew talk: Fall brings out the heavy hitters to ‘give you that warming feeling’

Watch: An owner, head brewer, and sales manager discuss three dark, heavy beers (each brewed at over 9% ABV) that are sure to warm you up as the cold season settles on Wilmington.

WILMINGTON — For many Wilmington beer drinkers, the shift from summer to fall means a shift from drinking lagers, pale ales, and Kölsch beers towards those dark, heavy stouts and porters that can warm them up as the cold settles.

To help our beer-inclined readers adjust to the season, we went out in search of three local beers, each above 9% alcohol by volume (ABV) and dark in appearance, that capture what Skytown Beer Company’s head brewer Ben Quinones called the “winter beer mindset.”

[Watch the video in the link above.]

“We want the higher gravity to give you that warming feeling and help mark the change of the season,” Quinones said.

Bill’s Brewing Company distribution and sales manager Nicholas Alexander talked about a special “full strength” version of their Jim’s Breakfast Stout, aged for nine months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels stacked next to the brewhouse. It’s brewed with cold press Sumatran coffee from their neighbors at Lucky Joe’s (a blend that is nine times the regular strength, he said), and brewed with maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, and oatmeal.

Bill’s Brewing Company distribution and sales manager Nicholas Alexander talked about the alchohol character from aging in bourbon barrels that "warms your insides and just gives you nice happiness you can’t get anywhere else.” (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Bill’s Brewing Company distribution and sales manager Nicholas Alexander talked about the alcohol character from aging in bourbon barrels that “warms your insides and just gives you nice happiness you can’t get anywhere else.” (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

“The regular beer is 9.1% ABV,” Alexander said. “Coming out of the barrels it hits right in the sweet spot at about 10.5%. It’s nice and strong. Definitely having a little bit of alcohol character helps warm your mouth and warms your insides and just gives you nice happiness you can’t get anywhere else.”

John Savard, who owns and runs Wilmington Brewing Company with his wife Michelle Savard, said seasonal shifts were important for the craft beer industry; and microbreweries have the flexibility to quickly adjust to changing consumer tastes.

“Through craft beer we have the ability —  because we are so small and not this mass-market production facility — we can flow with the times.” Savard said. “If seasons change, we try to predict it … In the fall people want a little bigger, darker, heavier beer.”


Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com or (970) 413-3815

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