Snowed In? Here are The Best Craft Beer Variety Packs For Winter 2016

Alexey Usachev/ Dollar Photo Club

Bundle up, winter is here in full force and still has almost a month left in its tank. Much of the northern part of the US is blanketed by a thick layer of snow. Some areas have been lucky and haven’t yet been hit by a winter storm. But, what happens if that trace of snow suddenly turns into a few feet overnight?

What if you get snowed in with no hope of stepping out your front door for a few days? How will you reach the outside world? How can you avoid cabin fever and boredom? What will you do if you are stuck in your house for days without a single drop of beer in the house? This is a nightmarish scenario and the best way to avoid it is by purchasing a sampler twelve pack (or two) and making sure you have a strong internet connection and a lot of Netflix shows to catch up on.

Magic Hat Brewing Company: Winterland Variety Pack

Vermont’s Magic Hat is known for its whimsical take on beer. They manage to walk the line between not taking themselves completely seriously and making delicious, well-made craft beer. They also know how to make a great sampler pack. In the fall, they came out with their “Night of the Living Dead Variety Pack” which featured the always present (and for good reason) Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Ale, Miss Bliss (Wry Ale With Spices) and Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale. Magic Hat’s “Winterland Variety Pack” features Magic Hat #9 (Not Quite Pale Ale), Snow Roller (Hoppy Brown Ale), Vinyl (Amber Lager) and Winter Mingle (Stout with Vanilla).

Great Divide Brewing Company: The Big Show

Denver (and all of Colorado for that matter) is one of the truly great craft beer cities in America. It stands out with the likes of Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Asheville. The brewery was founded in 1994 by Brian Dunn, who had previously spent the last few years helping to create farms in developing countries. Over the next twenty years, Great Divide has grown into one of the most awarded craft breweries in the country. They know how to make a great variety pack as well. Their “Brewer’s Picks” variety pack rotates based on what the brewers wish to add to it. Their most recent variety pack is “The Big Show” which contains: Hades (Belgian Stronge Ale), Hercules Double IPA, Hibernation Ale (Old Ale) and Yeti Imperial Stout.

Harpoon Brewery: Snowed In!

Boston’s Harpoon Brewery is another beer maker that is well-known for its variety packs. This winter seasonal pack was first launched in 1988 and has become a winter staple ever since. It contains Harpoon’s Winter Warmer, Harpoon IPA, UFO White as well as the unique UFO Gingerland.

Samuel Adams: Cabin Pack Variety Pack

Jim Koch is truly a pioneer in the craft beer world. He first brewed Samuel Adams Boston Lager (the company’s flagship beer) in his kitchen before going bar to bar, giving away samples in hopes that a few local watering holes would put it on tap. Since then, he has built the Boston Beer Company into one of the most successful breweries in America. He makes great beer and even better variety packs. Their winter offering, “Cabin Pack” features their Boston Lager, Cold Snap (Spiced White Ale), Escape Route, Noble Pils and Session Ale.

New Belgium: Bottle Folly Pack

New Belgium is a brewery that isn’t afraid to push the craft beer envelope. Their Lips of Faith Series has given us beers like Le Terroir (a dry-hopped sour ale), La Folie (a sour brown ale), Pear Ginger Beer and Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout. They are also pretty good at putting together variety packs. Their newest “Bottle Folly Pack” contains their flagship Fat Tire as well as Ranger IPA, RyePA, 1554 (Black Lager) and Citradelic (Tangerine IPA).

Saranac: 12 Beers of Winter

FX Matt Brewing is known for its variety packs. One of their most popular 12-packs is the annual 12 Beers of Winter. The mixed pack features their Legacy IPA (the original IPA recipe from over a century ago), Pale Ale (an English style pale ale), Long John Lager (Dunkel Lager), 4059’ Porter, Into the Dark (dark malted IPA), Chai Brown Ale (brown ale blended with chai spice)

Sierra Nevada: Snow Pack

Sierra Nevada is well-known for its pale ale, but the brewery also crafts some really hoppy brews like Torpedo. One of my favorite beers, Torpedo is not your usually IPA, this 7.2% ABV Extra IPA is chocked full of hop flavor. It’s the first beer Sierra Nevada ever brewed using its “Hop Tornado”, a specially designed dry-hopping machine that was created to completely control the exact amount of hop flavor added into the beer without the usual, face-puckering bitterness. On top of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo, the Snow Pack also includes Coffee Stout (cold-brewed coffee mixed together with their stout) Snow Wit (White IPA).

Troegs Anthology Winter

In the last few years, Troegs has become one of the most respected craft breweries on the east coast. Their beer is so good, that you’ll want a chance to try a few of their offerings in one sitting. The Anthology Winter Sample is a great way to do this. The sample pack includes Perpetual IPA (Imperial Pale Ale), Troegenator Double Bock, Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA, and Scratch Chocolate Stout (made with six different malts including vanilla, dark chocolate, lactose, oats and cacao nibs).

Pyramid Winter Variety Pack

Pyramid Breweries began as Hart Brewing in Kalama, Washington in 1984. The first beer ever brewed was a pale ale called Pyramid Beer. Since then, the company has grown to become one of the most well-known breweries in America. Their Winter Variety Pack doesn’t have that first pale ale, but it does contain their IPA, Snow Cap (Winter Warmer Ale), Robust Porter and Wit Beer (Belgian-Style White Ale).

All variety pack images courtesy of associated brewing companies


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