Best Beer (2011)

Rahr Bourbon Barrel-Aged Winter Warmer

Rahr & Sons Brewing Company Winter Warmer is a fine holiday-season beer, a chocolatey, roasty smooth English dark ale with a nice kick at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume. But the bourbon barrel-aged version, usually called "Whiskey Warmer" by those in the know, is our favorite locally made beer. The ale picks up some sweet vanilla, brown sugar and toffee notes from the aging and whiskey soaking, making an already great beer outstanding. The beer has changed each year as the brewery switched brands from Old Forester to Maker's Mark to, most recently, Jim Beam. Whether one of those will be used again (we were partial to the Maker's batch) or something new (one of the rash of up-and-coming Texas bourbons, please?), we'll be waiting at our favorite beer bar for a pint. Or store: Last year, Rahr appeased the masses clamoring to get some in stores by finally offering 22-ounce bottles of the previously draft-only brew.


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