winterwarmerbeerfestivalWhat’s the deal with winter warmers? Glad you asked, friend. A winter warmer is a seasonal beer made for this cold, dark, SAD-inducing time of year. It’s like a warm, fluffy scarf for your beer hole.

If you’re a beer nerd, here’s the lowdown on the style from Beer Advocate:

These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

A winter warmer is the beer to enjoy as you catch up with your cousin at the family holiday party, realize you don’t have much in common, then both stare at the football game/fireplace and drink in silence.

Here are a few winter warmers to swig this season:

Boulevard Nutcracker – This classic winter ale has a rich caramel, toffee-like malt flavor with hints of molasses balanced by the spiciness of Chinook hops. Tchaikovsky would approve, if he hadn’t been dead for 123 years.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale – Made with honey, cinnamon, and ginger. Great Lakes is brewed in Cleveland. “A Christmas Story” was filmed in Cleveland. Unlike the movie, the beer is not overrated.

God Jul – If this beer looks more heavy metal than ho ho ho, that’s because it’s from Norway. But “God Jul” does indeed mean “Merry Christmas.” With an 8.5% ABV, this one could lead to a long winter’s nap.

Harpoon Winter Warmer – Bostonians are crankier than usual during the winter, but this seasonal beer from Harpoon helps. It’s an easy-to-drink winter warmer made with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig – This seasonal favorite is a festive ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel. Grinch-ily enough, Samuel Adams only sell it as part of its Winter Classics mix pack. Free the Fezziwig, Sam.