As #DryJanuary’s popularity grows, so too do the great light and healthy imbibing options. That doesn’t mean the trend is for everyone, though. Some of us are rebels, who won’t take our drinking breaks with a crowd. Some of us take a more measured approach, scaling back week to week and indulging mindfully on our own path. Some of us just aren’t feeling it. And with a global pandemic rocking our lives upside down, well, all bets are off.
Especially due to the bizarre and trying circumstances we’re all dealing with now, we find ourselves just as in touch with those who want a regimented clean slate for the new year as we are with those who greeting Dry January posts with a big, old pffffftt. All that truly matters at the end of the day is that you’re doing you, making your mind and body happy, and supporting craft breweries and brands in the process--more important now than ever, of course--whether that’s through beers that are 0% or 12%. And to make the non-Dry January-ers feel as seen as they should be, we wanted to make sure we countered our “all things light” round-up with a selection of strong brews that refuse to shrink to meet Dry January demands. From triple IPAs to imperial stouts to Belgian-inspired ales, these beers are a decadently delicious statement that you’re team #DrinkBigJanuary.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery Three Chopt Tripel Ale
Belgian-style ales are a great launchpad for bigger-ABV adventures. They’re complex, providing plenty of flavor and aroma backbone to their alcohol content, from a bready base to citrusy esters and spicy phenols to a touch of that perfumey, warming alcohol character, and always a refreshingly crisp finish as a balance. Lickinghole Creek ups the ante with its own American craft take, employing “non-stop” hopping to anchor the Three Chopt Tripel Ale--9.3%-- in full hoppy flavor with the fresh twist of tropical notes.
Plan Bee Farm Brewery Fuggle Farmhouse Ale
Always brewed with New York farm ingredients--often grown right on the brewery’s own farm--Plan Bee’s farmhouse ales are beautiful beers that make any occasion a special one. So, one of those clocking in a 8% is its own reason to celebrate, sure to kick any January doldrums to the curb. The Fuggle is a traditional farmhouse ale made with organic New York state six-row base malt and plenty of New York state fuggle hops, a local take on a classic English hop.
Mayflower Brewing Company Triple Lindy TIPA
Mayflower’s Triple Lindy packs wow factor, ready to prove that even with all the hazy hop bombs out there, there’s still plenty for IPA fans to experience. This triple IPA pushes boundaries on how much hop character a beer can have, and it bursts with flavors of pineapple, jackfruit, and orange with sweet touches of cotton candy and vanilla that harmonize with any hop bitterness. With a creamy, silky mouthfeel that finishes dry and refreshing, you’ll never know this bigger, bolder, must-try IPA is 10%.
Montclair Brewery Peoples Republic of Montclair Belgian Style Ale
For a different Belgian-inspired experience, look to the Peoples Republic of Montclair from Montclair Brewery. This ale is a flavorful amber iteration of a Belgian dubbel, a substantial brew that boasts a blend of brown bread, caramel, cocoa, banana, dark dried fruit, and spice--here, Montclair punches this up with coriander. This beer drinker’s delight pays homage to tradition with fresh attention paid to aroma and flavor.
Jackalope Brewing Company Goliath Imperial Brown Ale
Bearwalker is one of Jackalope’s best-loved beers, a brown ale flowing with pure Vermont maple syrup. As if that wasn’t decadent (yet balanced) enough, Jackalope decided to go another step further with the Goliath, an imperial version of the Bearwalker. At 8.8%, this beer delivers on that rich, sweet maple flavor, along with irresistible notes of sugar plums and raisins.
Goose Island Brewing Company Gillian Farmhouse Ale
Goose Island’s Gillian is a special-affair beer. In 2021, a special affair is any old Wednesday night you want to pop this beaut. In other words, it’s a masterfully brewed, shining example of a traditional Belgian style that’s worth every bit of its 8.9% ABV. Strawberry, white pepper, and honey sing together here, a unique and unexpected mix of flavors that play off each other brilliantly and are highlighted by the beer’s partial aging in wine barrels. Proost!
Sixpoint Brewery Black is Beautiful Imperial StoutWe love to see a good cause in the mix, making an indulgence all the more worthy. Sixpoint’s take on the Weathered Souls Brewing’s Black is Beautiful collaboration, geared toward raising both money and awareness for fighting racism and social injustice, is a big, strong, beautifully complex brew. Its double-oaked and aged on vanilla beans for a rich, warm finish. At 14%, this must-drink brew’s proceeds go to the Michael James Jackson Foundation, which “funds technical education and career advancement for black, indigenous, and people of color in the brewing and distilling industries.”
The Rare Barrel Tale of Two Persimmons Golden Sour Beer
With its Tale of Two Persimmons, The Rare Barrel proves that sours don’t have to be left out of the big-ABV fun. This brew takes the light, bright, tart, funky, acidic, sweet fruitiness of a sour and makes the bouquet deep and complex. It’s aged in oak barrels with Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons, which lend notes of stone fruit, pears, dates, and honey. We’re already craving this 8.2% golden brew.