Winter Brews, Round Two 

Three more hefty beers to warm your whistle


It has been a mild prelude to winter, but the chill has finally set in and it's time for Round Two in the winter brew lineup. This trio puts the emphasis on the malt, with rich flavors perfect for the colder weather and enough alcohol to act as antifreeze.

Lagunitas Brown Shugga' Sweet Release, $1.69-$2.09

This bright amber ale is topped with a big head that collapses slowly and leaves a nice lacing. The aromas feature piney hops with hints of fruit and roasted malt. There's a bit of heat mid-palate (the brew is 9.9 percent ABV) with flavors that are nicely balanced between a hoppy IPA and a malty strong ale. Tropical fruit flavors shine throughout, with orange zest on the finish.

McEwan's Scotch Ale, $2.79-$3.49

This Scottish import is back after an extended absence. It's a chestnut colored pour with a light, fast-fading froth. Sweet, soft malt aromas are backed by toffee and ripe fruit. Smooth and creamy on the palate, it brims with milk chocolate, malt, dark fruit and fresh nut loaf flavors. There's a touch of spicy hops, and at 8 percent ABV, it's the most sessionable of the three.

North Coast 2014 Old Stock Ale, $3.29-$4.29

This beer pours a hazy dark amber with a thin, tan head and offers sweet wheat bread, rye whiskey and dark fruit aromas. Weighing in at 11.8 percent ABV, this brew has an unsurprising boozy quality to the palate, especially on the finish. A complex array of flavors unfold, including caramel, baked apple, brown sugar and sweet roll, all wrapped around a core of rich malt. This ale should age beautifully.

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