SPECIALTY BEERS

Draft Cider. Cider is made from fermented apple juice. As with wine, the character and quality of the resulting product will bear heavily on the variety and quality of the fruit used. The cooler climate of Vermont is well suited to high quality apple production, and produces a sizeable amount of quality sparkling hard cider. The finest ciders in North America may well emanate from the province of Quebec in Canada, which has an established artisinal cider industry with historical ties to Normandy cider (which are also quite excellent).

We Recommend: Domaine Dupont Cidre de Bouche

Herb-Spiced and Fruit Beers. These are lagers or ales to which herbs, fruits, or spices have been added in order to impart flavor or color. Depending on whether or not the seasonings have been used in the fermentation or as an addition of juice or extract, the beer will have more or less of the desired character. These beers are highly individualistic, and allow the brewers great creativity in their formulations. They will range from mild aromatic overtones to intense and pungently flavored concoctions.

We Recommend: Southern Tier Pumking (seasonal)

U.S. Barrel-Aged. A relatively new arrival onto the beer scene, American brewers have started experimenting heavily with aging select beers in used liquor barrels. These usually are purchased from bourbon producers. The resulting beers vary greatly depending on the cask used and the style of beer being aged. However, all the brews pick up the vanilla characteristics resulting from aging anything in wood along with the residual flavors of the original alcohol left in the porous surface of the barrels.

We Recommend: Allagash Curieux

Winter Ales. Spiced winter ales are popular hybrids among US craft brewers. Typically they are strong ales that have had some spice added during the brewing process. True to their name, they make ideal sipping beers with which to ward off winters chill and get a dose of seasonal spices. This style is usually brewed before Christmas and brewers frequently make annual adjustments to their often secret recipes in an effort to obtain that perfect symbiosis between spices, hops and malt.

We Recommend: Anchor Steam X-mas Ale (seasonal)