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Get Your Long Island Winter Craft Beer This Holiday Season

You can find some great Long Island craft beers alongside the fabulous wines of the North Fork this season.

A change in season tends to be accompanied by shifts in style of beer both produced and consumed within the craft beer industry. Referred to as seasonal beers, these are brews typically created for and influenced by the current season and existing weather conditions.

During our winter months, for example, which are generally characterized by lower temperatures and decreased light, one can expect beers designed to banish exterior chill and warm up the drinker for the holidays. Winter seasonals are commonly darker, possess a stronger malt presence and a higher alcohol by volume (ABV), and are typically flavored with festive spices and/or chocolates and dried fruits.

Yet like every aspect of craft beer, the options are limitless.

Here are some winter seasonal offerings from the microbreweries and brew pubs currently operating on Long Island:

- Greenport
Website: http://www.harborbrewing.com
Winter Seasonal: Anti-Freeze
Description: Don't be intimidated by its name―Greenport Harbor Brewing Company's Anti-Freeze, an English Old Ale-inspired winter seasonal, is anything but toxic and created for use in internal combustion engines. A chewy, full-bodied ale, reddish-brown in color, with hints of caramel and toffee, Anti-Freeze is a "beer drinker's winter beer," said assistant brewer Greg Doroski. "Malt forward, with subtle floral hops flavors and aromas and a touch of warming alcohol." No automobile deserves such a treat. 
Availability: Cask, draft, growler

- Southampton
Website: http://www.publick.com
Winter Seasonal: French Country Christmas Ale (Biere de Garde)
Description: Only available on tap at Southampton Ales & Lagers' microbrewery-restaurant, Southampton Publick House, Brewmaster Phil Markowski stated the French Country Christmas Ale (or Biere de Garde, which translates to "beer for storage") has been brewed every Christmas since the establishment opened in 1996. Tradition can definitely prove tasty.
Availability: Draft, growler


Blue Point Brewing Company - Patchogue
Website: http://www.bluepointbrewing.com
Winter Seasonal: Winter Ale
Description: At a low 5.50 percent ABV, Blue Point Brewing Company's Winter Ale is the definition of session seasonal. Composed of Pale, Vienna, Crystal and Chocolate Malt, this robust Amber Ale casts spells against frigid weather conditions. Yep. Like a wizard. Just look at the tap handle.
Availability: Bottle, cask, draft

Winter Seasonal: Old Howling Bastard
Description: Quite possibly my favorite brew name, second only to Dogfish Head's Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right BA Select, which pays homage to the infamous Konami Code. A bold American Barleywine with notes of dried fruits and caramel, Blue Point named this after a "colorful local character." At 10 percent ABV, Old Howling Bastard may also refer to an individual who consumes more than one. Availability: 22-ounce bottle, cask, draft

Brickhouse Brewery - Patchogue
Website: http://www.brickhousebrewery.com
Winter Seasonal: Blitzen Ale
Description: "The Blitzen is a holiday-spiced ale, spiced with coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel and infused with fresh local honey," said Brickhouse Brewery general manager Maud Franklin. Only two batches, or eighteen barrels, of the full-bodied, 9 percent ABV ale were brewed, so don't expect Rudolph's friend past New Year's Eve.
Availability: Draft, growler

Port Jefferson Brewing Company — Port Jefferson

Website: http://www.portjeffbrewing.com
Winter Seasonal: Cold North Wind
Description: Named for the "cool, prevailing currents which proceed an intense North Shore storm," according to Port Jefferson Brewing Company's owner Michael Philbrick, Cold North Wind is a 9.5 percent ABV, copper-colored American Barleywine propelled by eight different malts. Despite yielding a high numerical value in bitterness ― 72 International Bitterness Units (IBU) ― the complex malt profile remains dominant and provides a sweetness essential for any holiday.
Availability: 22-ounce bottle, draft, growler

Fire Island Beer Company - Ocean Beach
Website:
http://www.fireisland.com
Winter Seasonal: Frozen Tail Ale
Description: Fire Island Beer Company's founder and owner Jeff Glassman referred to Frozen Tail Ale's blend of five different American and British hops and four specialty malts as "festive-layered." Medium-bodied, mahogany-colored, the malts exude flavors of caramel and toffee. Loved amongst all ice-covered deer inhabiting Long Island. 
Availability: Bottle, draft, growler

Great South Bay Brewery - Bay Shore
Website: http://www.greatsouthbaybrewery.com
Winter Seasonal: Sleigh Ryed
Description: Sleigh Ryed, Great South Bay Brewery's winter Red Rye Ale, exhibits a smooth, warm, Scotch-like feel with malted rye and piney notes of juniper berries. Founder and head brewer Rick Sobotka believes Sleigh Ryed is best enjoyed while "strolling about on a snowy night or curling up next to an open fire."
Availability: Draft, growler

John Harvard's Brew House - Lake Grove
Website: http://www.johnharvards.com
Winter Seasonal: Winter Splinter Ale
Description: Unique to John Harvard's Brew House's sole New York location (other locations include Massachusetts and Rhode Island), Winter Splinter Ale is a sweet, complex Brown Ale aged over oak, with hints of vanilla and spices. "The Winter Splinter has qualities of chardonnay," said brewer David DeCurris. "It's a perfect warmer for the season."
Availability: Draft, growler

Barrier Brewing Company - Oceanside
Website: http://www.barrierbrewing.com
Winter Seasonal: Uncle Lee's Christmas Ale
Description: Brewed with maple syrup and cinnamon, Barrier Brewing Company's Uncle Lee's Christmas Ale is a holiday treat the founder and head brewer Evan Klein created exclusively for craft beer staple Dive Bar and their three New York City locations. "I consider Evan to be such an amazing brewer," said Dive Bar owner Lee Seinfeld. "I went to him with the idea for Uncle Lee and knew he could deliver." Expect Uncle Lee to stumble into Seinfeld's three homes right before Christmas.
Availability: Draft

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