Stegmaier Brewing Company (The Lion Brewery) - Stegmaier Winter Warmer
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):38
Serving Temperature:47-52° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Goblet, or Pint Glass
Malts:2-Row Pale, Caramel, Other Specialty Malts
Hops:Traditional English Hops
One of our favorite aspects of the arrival of winter is the arrival of winter warmers (not to mention all the other myriad holiday ale interpretations that hit the market too). Stegmaier's entry in this seasonal category is a deep red-colored ale capped with a head of light beige foam. Prominent toffee and caramel notes are readily apparent in the aroma, along with some fruity esters and brown sugar. On the palate, this is one richly malty brew, with big, round, caramelized notes forming a robust core. Look for some fruity impressions of fig, cherry, and raisin, along with a touch of buttery toffee. Though hefty and with some noticeable sweetness, it never veers toward cloying thanks to plenty of balancing hop bitterness and a bit of spicy alcohol. The brewers were a little coy with us on the specific hop varieties they employ, but regardless, there's a nice bold contribution from those little green flowers which adds some spice and floral overtones along with a hint of woodiness. Rich and warming at 7.8% ABV, this brew makes for a wonderful nightcap, particularly when matched with pumpkin pie, spice cake, or a poached pear with caramel sauce. Enjoy!
The story of Stegmaier is really the story of two breweries: Stegmaier, whose roots go back to the mid-19th century, and the Lion Brewery, which was founded in 1905.
Around 1857, Charles Stegmaier and his father-in-law, George Baer, embarked on a small brewing operation on South Canal Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA, which enlarged when they opened a new, bigger facility on East Market Street in 1863 known as the Baer & Stegmaier Brewery. Sadly, the partners were forced to sell off the brewery due to the economic crisis that came to be known as the Panic of 1873. Happily, by 1880 Charles and his son, Christian, were able to re-purchase the brewery and begin growing the business under the new name C. Stegmaier & Son. The brewery experienced many happy decades through the rest of the 19th and most of the 20th century, until the slow decline of local brewers (which affected brewers in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.) ultimately caused the brewery to close in 1974.
It's here that the Lion Brewery steps in, purchasing the Stegmaier brand and continuing production in what had, until then, been one of Stegmaier's rival breweries in Wilkes-Barre. Founded in 1905, the Lion is a venerable Wilkes-Barre institution, having survived the hard times that claimed many other local brewers prior to the modern craft beer renaissance. The Lion has managed to thrive in recent times, due in no small part to the popularity of the Stegmaier beers, as well as being a contract brewing partner for many other craft beer companies. For more info on the Stegmaier brand and its long history, visit stegmaierbrewery.com.
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