By Dakota “Smoky” Waddell
Winter is an interesting time of year, encompassing heart-warming holidays and the dark and strange days of February. Here in my home of the mountains of Western North Carolina, the past few years have seen an influx of snowstorms. As a “young’un”, I don’t remember that much snow, other than a blizzard in 1993 that dumped around six feet on my sleepy community. Though many hate winter, others just love it. Personally, for me the season evokes feelings that I cherish with a warm heart and busy mind, as some of my favorite activities burst forth from the hibernation of summer. If you can’t tell already, I happen to be one who loves winter.
Winter means wood-fueled fires, early mornings in the woods watching the sun come up and catching up on reading. But with winter also comes a change in my tastes so far as food and drink are concerned. When I am asked if I would like a salad on the side, I might choose soup instead. The same goes for my beer. No more Pabst Blue Ribbon, no more light refreshing beers. I want something dark, warm and filling. Therefore, my beers of choice to knock off the chill are porters and stouts. This is not surprising; in fact, it’s a pretty typical habit for many beer enthusiasts.
Traditionally, beers are directly marketed for a particular season or time of year. I have found that “winter beers” are usually among my least favorite varieties of a fine beverage. Thus, the thought of a winter lager sounded a lot like that side salad. “I’m sure it’s nice,” I thought, but I figured I’d rather pass… until a particular winter lager produced by Sam Adams may have changed my mind.