Food & Drink

These are the best beers for hunkering down in cold weather – and snow days. Cheers!

Snow days seem to call out for a beer. Four to consider are, from left to right, Trophy Double Death Spiral double IPA, Model Especial, Deep River Brewing Collaboration without Representation chocolate milk stout and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy imperial stout.
Snow days seem to call out for a beer. Four to consider are, from left to right, Trophy Double Death Spiral double IPA, Model Especial, Deep River Brewing Collaboration without Representation chocolate milk stout and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy imperial stout. jdjackson@newsobserver.com

In a snowstorm, when the roads are impassable and the cold stings the face, the best beers are the ones in your refrigerator.

With more cold weather on the horizon, and maybe a wintry mix, stock up on these big boozy stouts or IPAs. You’re hunkered down and don’t want to be on the roads, so why not settle in for a while? Beer is good for that.

Should there be a bona fide snow day, there should be some degree of celebration, beers worthy of the quasi-special occasion and the company you’re likely to keep. Here a few likely to do the trick.

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

It’s a lucky trick of geography and distribution that one of the great stouts anywhere is brewed into ubiquity in North Carolina. This offering from our fine neighbors in the western part of the state can be found in just about any grocery store or bottle shop year-round, but is really made for these winter months, its boozy backbone an extra layer of warmth against the cold.

Ten Fidy is a stout that sticks to the ribs, so thick it slides rather than pours from the can, but is more balanced than most, hiding its alcohol behind rich chocolate and sticky, dried fruit. It’s a long-term sipper perfect for when you’ve come in from the cold and are settling in for some TV binging.

Deep River Collaboration without Representation

This is a special stout in the Triangle. Pricey and hard to come by, this chocolate milk stout by Clayton brewers Deep River is a chocolate and coffee bomb that spends some time in bourbon barrels before it’s canned and released to the public. At more than 12 percent ABV, it’s about a boozy as they come, but all that chocolate and coffee make it essentially adult cocoa.

A local prize in the rise of dessert stouts, Deep River sells out in a single day, but some bottle shops may have them kicking around. Packaged only in 16-ounce cans, this is a good one to split with someone and pairs nicely with a roaring fire and a giant chocolate chip cookie.

Trophy Double Death Spiral

When the Triangle feels like an ice rink, best traversed by ATVs or not at all, break out this double IPA. It’s named for a rotator-cuff-defying figure skating move where one skater is spun by another, flashes a pair of skates on the label of its cans, perhaps another mode of close-range ice storm transportation.

Here, Trophy makes an awfully hoppy IPA, sharpened with notes of citrus and brewed with local honey. It’s a local answer to Bell’s soon-to-be-released Hopslam, but you can actually get your hands on it.

Modelo Especial, or your favorite lower case beer

Not every beer is worthy of applause or adulation. Some are beloved because they’re always there, ready to be plucked from the convenience store cooler. They have names like Miller and Bud and PBR, but should really just have a plain label with the words “beer” written on them in lower case letters. They’re crisp, even refreshing, and when the snow has canceled all your plans, it’s good to be holed up with a case.

It’s cold out there, to be sure. But not as cold as your Modelo, brightened with a squeeze of lime and dreams of the tropics.

If you’d prefer something more local and perhaps with more flavor, White Street Kolsch and Fullsteam Paycheck Pilsner are good upper case snow day beers.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

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