Mid-to-late winter can be a sneaky good time to enjoy a few beers.
While never as celebratory as the holiday rush, February and March often bring exciting new releases, and the long, cold nights can allow you to sink your teeth into something substantial. It’s also one of the only times of the year when seasonal brews feel appropriate, rather than gimmicky.
Here are three bits of news of interest to New England beer drinkers.
There’s a new chocolate beer from Brewery Ommegang and Taza Chocolate.
Chocolate beers are delicious, though pairing the two is not the most original concept in the world.
Enter Cooperstown, N.Y.’s Brewery Ommegang, a brewer specializing in classic Belgian styles, which seem now to this writer to be massively underrated. Ommegang’s latest release takes Three Philosophers, a combination of Belgian quad and kriek beers, and adds cocoa nibs from Somerville’s Taza Chocolate. The result, Three Philosophers Double Chocolate, is a decadent after-dinner sipper of a beer at 9.7 percent alcohol by volume.
“Three Philosophers already has a hint of cherry sweetness,” says Joe Poliseno, brewing manager at Ommegang. “Adding Taza chocolate gently enhances the sweetness while complementing the beer’s toffee and stone fruit flavors.”
Having sampled the beer recently, I can tell you that what works here is restraint. The beer pours thinner than a stout but gives off incredible aromas of black cherries, toffee, and cocoa powder. It’s a big beer alcohol-wise but doesn’t drink like it, a welcome reprieve from all the candy-loaded pastry stouts out there. Breaking off a piece of Taza’s cacao puro (70 percent dark) chocolate heightens the chocolate flavor and enhances the experience.
Aeronaut’s new Everett Cannery and taproom is open for business.
Last August, Somerville’s Aeronaut Brewing Co. announced that it was taking over the former Down the Road Beer Co. space in Everett. After a buildout, the Aeronaut Cannery at 199 Ashland St. is now open. In addition to selling beer to go, the taproom onsite is now seating up to 55 people (2-6 per party) on Fridays and Saturdays. Those familiar with Aeronaut’s Somerville taproom will be pleased to hear that collaborator Carolicious will be serving Venezuelan arepas in Everett as well.
Tröegs Nugget Nectar is back.
Appearing on store shelves like a beacon, there’s one beer that lifts my spirits during the darkest days of winter every year. Nugget Nectar, made by Pennsylvania’s Tröegs Independent Brewing, isn’t the most fashionable beer. It’s not new, can be purchased in a 12-pack, and it isn’t even hazy. But believe me when I say this imperial amber, bursting with flavors of grapefruit and creamsicle, will put a smile on your face. Get yours now, because I’ve already gone looking for it twice, and it’s sure to not last long.