Brian Koch is the owner of North Portland’s Lombard House pub, and like many others he is grappling with a pandemic, a pivot to delivery, and worldwide protests of an unjust system that have implications far more important than beer and bars.
Each year, N. Portland’s Stormbreaker Brewing releases their seasonal Winter Coat, an Imperial Brown Ale with ingredients that change each year. After the fresh version of Winter Coat drops in the fall, it’s followed up with a barrel-aged version of the previous years winter coat. Both beers are available now.
“We switch up the features of the Winter Coat,” says Stormbreaker owner Dan Malech. “In 2016 we added blood orange, 2017 saw the addition of Plum, 2018 had wolf berries added as an homage to Game of Thrones, 2019 had Marion berries added, and 2020 has Raspberry.”
Fresh winter coat is an Imperial Brown Ale that the brewery prefers to just call a winter warmer. The fresh 2020 Winter Coat was released earlier in November and was brewed with raspberries. The barrel-aged Winter Coat is of last years 2019 release and instead of raspberry, it had marionberries. For malts they used Special B, a rich toffee-like malt known for intense notes of dark plum like flavors. It was finished up with earthy and floral English hop varieties Fuggles and some Sterling as well. The deep flavor of tart marionberries, toasty caramel and nutty malts, with a year spent aging in Bull Run bourbon barrels completes this years barrel-aged edition.
Though the various vintages of Winter Coat all depict a similar jacket on the label, the type of coat illustrated actually changes each year.
Winter Coat recently won Gold in 2019 at Best of Craft Beer awards. In 2018, it won Silver at the same awards, and in 2017 it won Gold at the US Open Beer Championships.
Fresh Winter Coat is now available in 16oz cans, while the barrel-aged 2019 edition has just been released in 500ml bottles, it’s 7.5% abv and will warm you just like a winter jacket.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.