Style: Winter Warmer
Grain: Pale Ale, Munich, Caramunich, Crystal
Hops: Willamette, Cascade
Yeast: English Ale
Tasting notes: toffee, shortbread cookie, marmalade
Pair with: Fish & Chips, Fall Salad, Beyond the King's Burger
"Winter Warmer" sounds cozy because it is cozy. If there can be such a thing as "comfort food" - food that maybe makes you a little nostalgic or just makes you feel good - then there should also be "comfort beer". This beer doesn't demand a lot out of you. "Take it easy" it whispers to you as you settle in by the fire. There isn't a punch of hops or an overly sweet malt base. It's balanced, but beckons for another pint. Winter Warmer isn't officially a recognized style in most competitions, but most beer drinking Brits would know what you're talking about, thanks to genre defining brewers such as Samuel Smith. I'd argue this one is more of an ESB, but that B scares some people off.
I've known Creighton for a couple years now. He and his wife showed up at a MUGZ* meeting once and I knew he wasn't just a casual homebrewer. He takes the craft seriously. He would bring killer IPAs and stouts and regularly made wine as well. So when he started working at Twin Span, I knew we'd have to collaborate at some point. I asked him what he wanted to brew and he showed me one of his personal favorites - an ESB. After modifying it to work on our system and with our grains, you have what you see before you.
* MUGZ is the Quad Cities' oldest homebrew club, starting over 25 years ago. I've been a member for over a decade now, spending a handful of those years as an officer. Pre-pandemic, brewers would meet once a month at a local brewery to discuss and share beer. Brewers attend regular fundraisers and festivals in the area and once per year host a nationwide homebrewer competition. During the pandemic, we've moved things online. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/groups/141153256506268.