ISO: Winter. Or Beers That Make Us Feel like it’s Winter

I’m not going to complain about the heat wave that hugged our region since, well, last spring, but I’m ready for winter. Real winter with cold and snow and more snow. Not the stuff of stories. The Colorado girl in me has had it with warm and sticky days and was pretty stoked when I felt a nip in the air and thus deemed it chilly enough to finally done my winter coat. So bundle up I did and then headed off in search of one of my favorite types of beer: winter warmers. These rich and warming brews are my kind of drink. I love the creamy malty richness and traditional flavors of chocolate or coffee that linger on the tongue. The beers that offer up a little heat starting in the belly and then bloom sip after delicious sip. I’m a total sucker for a velvety stout or boozy lager heavy enough to eat with a spoon.

People at craft beer bar
Kindred Spirits ISO good beer and winter warmth. Tall Tales bartender Katy Morrison check in with guests who were on a mini Shore Craft tour. Frank Van Santen of Chicago (foreground) sipping Sasquatch Imperial Stout with his brother-in-law David Gammel enjoying a taste of Excalibur IPA.

Babe: The Ox, The Myth, The Legend

All of this excitement over the temperature drop led me to Tall Tales in Parsonsburg, Maryland where my quest for delicious winter warmers was answered in an unexpected way; ‘The Blue Ox Porter’. Okay, let me back up a little here. If you haven’t visited Tall Tales yet, or if you don’t know much about them, they’re definitely a brewery to hit up either as your destination or en route to or from the beach. True story: their beers are all named after, yep you guessed it, tall tales.  Which leads me back to The Blue Ox, a blueberry porter even Paul Bunyan could warm up to. As the original tall tale goes, Paul Bunyan found Babe, the blue ox, one cold and snowy winter’s day while out on a lumberjacking adventure. He decided to bring the tiny ox back to his lumber camp where eventually Babe grew to epic proportions and had his own epic adventures. And so it is with Tall Tale’s Blue Ox Porter. The beer starts out with a hit of juicy berries and is initially imagined to stay with that one simple profile. But just as Babe grew, so does this beer. While at first one might be reminded of springtime, the more one drinks the more the blueberry flavor deepens becoming one with the porter profile thus creating a crisp yet warming experience able to rival a cold winter’s day. Each mouthful continues to mature in depth and flavor creating an epic experience such that you’ll want the story to continue on.

Eric Camper
Eric Camper, Tall Tale’s Brewmaster, pours Blue Ox. A blueberry porter equal to its namesake.

Whether Winter Comes or Not…

Other winter warmers to check out while visiting Tall Tales are their Sasquatch Imperial Stout and Gingersnap Stout. Sasquatch offers a typical and welcome Imperial chocolate and coffee profile. And like its namesake, it has a big footprint and its own following. Gingersnap is a fun, creamy stout stuffed with responsibly sourced ginger, cinnamon, vanilla bean (and a box of ginger snaps just for spirit).

This, of course, is an abridged version of Tall Tales’ beers and of the winter warmers offered at our Shore’s breweries…too numerous to name in this episode. But stay tuned, the stories continue; true and tall alike.


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