Winter in Los Angeles is a strange beast. The weather rarely creeps into frightful territory, and since the trees don’t really lose their leaves, we have few (if any) visual indicators of seasonal change.
But the best way to mark the transition to winter is by hitting up your favorite bottle shop to check out the latest selection of seasonal brews. And because beer and food are natural best friends, here are some perfect pairings ideas for cozy winter meals.
Stone Brewing Company’s Xocoveza mocha stout is a whimsical take on spiced Mexican hot chocolate. Sweet notes of vanilla and cinnamon are set off by pasilla peppers and coffee, and the 8.1% ABV stands up to the bold, warm flavors of the milk stout. Pair Xocoveza with pretty much any kind of stewed-meat tacos—carnitas, barbacoa, and chicken tinga will all play nicely with the spiced stout.
The Bruery’s Arrrggghhh! imperial pilsner (yes, imperial pilsner!) rocks some delicious coconut notes that mellow out the dry, hoppy goodness of this 7.7% ABV delight. Arrrggghhh! is brewed with rice along with the usual barley, which lends the beer a light, crisp mouthfeel—perfect for washing down an extra-spicy Thai Panang curry.
Boulevard Brewing Company’s Rye-on-Rye takes a strong American rye ale and then ages it in rye whiskey barrels. The result is a smoky/sweet barrel-aged treat that carries its very strong ABV (12%) with aplomb. The combo of smoky and sweet may seem like an obvious match for BBQ ribs, but those flavor profiles together might be a bit too much of a good thing (and besides, ribs feel like a summer food to me). I suggest pairing Rye-on-Rye with pot roast and root vegetables or a beer-braised short rib pot pie. The umami flavors of these dishes will help mellow out this great winter warmer.