CiceroneCraft Beer CultureA Hot Beer For A Cold Night


Every now and then a beer tweet I put out in the world gets some attention. And it’s one recent tweet that’s fueling this blog post.

Garth's Brew Bar Tweet

The season is beginning to change and I got a late night chill having just brought our new puppy outside. Exhausted from the day and craving a beer, I decided to grab a pink guava sour called Bridget from 2nd Shift Brewing Company.

2nd Shift uses brettanomyces to make it light, tart and funky-flavored. They say it’s a perfect beer for a warm summer day – and there I was thinking the opposite.

Now admittedly, I haven’t had a hot beer. I’ve had a lot of bad beers, off flavors, and beertails (cocktails made with beer). And I’ve certainly had warm beer from accidentally letting it bask in the sun too long, but never hot. hot. hot.

Turns out that putting Bridget in the microwave wasn’t a bad idea after all. It tasted like a hot, sweet strawberry-like cider and it was delicious. I’m not the first to do something like this, though, not by a long stretch.

The wonderful folks at Vine Pair did a great write up about the phenomenon of serving hot beer with their  showcase of Cascade brewing company. The brewing company takes a base beer, adds various spices and sweeteners to it and then heats it up before serving a true winter warming beer cocktail.

Thanks to all the tweeters, I also found out that Wisconsin’s Bull Falls Brewing Company also upholds a similar traditional in which they heat up a poker and stick it in your beer. (This is actually the method that dates furthest back in history; they call it mulled beer.)

Alas, if you’re interested in experimenting with some hot beers this season, here are some watch-out-fors and recommendations.

  • Don’t be to quick to consume the beer after you heat it. Not only will it be hot, but it’s losing a massive amount of carbonation quickly. If you drink it, you’ll get full fast … and have more rigorous burping than you would normally. Give it a hot second before consuming. (Pun intended)
  • Sours and very malty beers are the best types to heat. Think beers like Blackrocks Bock, Lupulin Oktoberfest and Urban Artifact’s Dragons. Do not try heating up a pilsner – you’ll end up tasting creamed corn, skunk and a little bit of wet cardboard.
  • Feel free to add adjuncts to your beer before you heat it. You can go with some cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, tea leaves, honey, lavender, or clove. If you would use it in a festive cocktail, then you’re fine to use it in the beer, too.
  • A few ways to warm your beer:
    • Microwave on high for 20 seconds. Depending on your microwave, you may need to repeat this once or twice.
    • Heat an empty pot on the stove and then add your beer to it.
    • Pour a beer into a pot first and then heat it up.
    • Heat a metal poker (or, you know, a spoon) and stick it in your beer.

As you experiment, I’d love to learn what beers, ingredients and heating methods you use! Shoot me a note at

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