After a long day spent snowshoeing through the woods or carving tracks through a fresh layer of powder, it takes a special kind of beer to lift that lingering chill from the day’s adventures. In the winter, it’s seldom a crisp, refreshing beer that’s craved when thawing out in front of a fire, but rather something rich and flavorful that’s meant to be sipped and appreciated over the course of a long winter night. Something malty, creamy and more often than not, dark in both color and flavor.
Usually, a good porter or stout (or a hybrid of the two styles like Bent Paddle’s Black Ale) is my go-to winter beer. Recently, however, a new brew has been hitting the spot, and that beer is the Otter Slide seasonal at Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais.
The Otter Slide is an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with maple syrup from Wild Country (a North Shore “sugar bush” located near Lutsen) and infused with just a hint of peanut. Dry with a rich maple flavor that balances well with the sweetness from the malt, the Otter Slide earns its Imperial title with a massive grain bill and resulting abv of 8.2 percent. A complex beer full of flavor, the Otter Slide finishes smooth, making it a great beer with a local flair—even the bottle artwork was done by local North Shore artist Betsy Bowen.
By Eric Weicht