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Cold North Wind from Port Jeff Brewing Company: The beer you need to try this winter

Pouring a growler of Cold North Wind, a

Pouring a growler of Cold North Wind, a barley wine made by Port Jeff Brewing Company. Credit: Corin Hirsch

Name: Cold North Wind from Port Jeff Brewing Company

What: A barley wine, which is not really a wine at all but a strong, malty ale

The pour: In the glass this has a dark, coppery hue with plenty of creamy froth and lots of body. Think figs and butterscotch with hints of cardamom and coffee — but with a bittersweet hoppiness that you can taste for awhile after each sip.

Strength: At 9.4 percent alcohol, this beer has muscle.

Back story: Cold North Wind is hardly new; it was first brewed in 2011, and makes an appearance every winter at this brewery and tasting room in the middle of Port Jefferson Village. The list of malts that go into the ale, from white wheat to flaked barley, is lengthy. “There is so much going on,” said head brewer Dan O’Leary, and EKG hops and a Scotch-ale yeast round out the formula. (In fact, Port Jeff Brewing sometimes calls Cold North Wind a strong ale).

The brewery turns out about 440 gallons of this each winter, and when it’s gone, it’s gone ’til next year. But some Cold North Wind is always aged in ex-apple brandy bottles, for six months to a year, and sold in the tasting room.

Cost: $7 for a pint at the brewery, and $10.50 for a crowler (or a 32-ounce half growler). A 22-ounce bottle of barrel-aged Cold North Wind is a steal at $10.

Where: Land a pint of Cold North Wind inside Port Jeff Brewing’s cozy tasting room, which has a few scattered stools, a barrel doubling as a table, a view of the brewhouse and another (if you cock your head) of the harbor — plus a welcoming deck for the odd balmy day. Or, take a crowler or bottle of barrel-aged barley wine with you and sip it with some Stilton or Gorgonzola-smothered steak — this style pairs like a glove with strong blue cheeses.

The tasting room is open noon to 8 p.m. daily. Port Jeff Brewing Company is at 22 Mill Creek Rd., in the Chandler Square walking mall; 877-475-2739, portjeffbrewing.com

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