The next time you hear a weather forecaster equivocating about a "wintry mix," try one of these brews: a sextet for snowy days.
Brooklyn Black Ops is a vivid, rich, local spin on Russian imperial stout, with notes of chocolate and coffee. The Brooklyn Brewery's production spent four months in bourbon barrels before refermentation with Champagne yeast. Even more impressive is Brooklyn Cuvée Noire, a full-flavored, potent, bourbon-barrel passport to Belgium. There's a trace of sweetness, a note of orange, a big payoff. Both are in 750ml bottles and $25 each.
St. Bernardus Abt 12, a spicy, strong, fruity, layered, classic Quadrupel Abbey ale from Belgium, amplifies the theme. A 22-oz. bottle: about $15. Of course, not all wintry brews must be the color of night. Affligem Tripel is an outstanding Abbey brew, full-bodied and lush, in a gilded amber hue. A 22-oz. bottle goes for about $11.
From upstate New York comes Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. The dependable brewery is close to Cooperstown. Even though Mike Piazza was stiffed again in Hall of Fame voting, I'll be understanding and allow for including Ommegang's blast of chocolate -- maybe to right-center. The 22-oz. bottle costs about $15.
And from Samuel Adams comes Cold Snap, a seasonal, hazy, Belgian-style white ale, available in bottle and can. It will be on the shelves through mid-March. Cold Snap is a refresher, with notes of coriander and citrus. A six-pack is $8 to $10; a 12-pack, $15 to $18.