Darkest Beers For The Darkest Days: Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice everybody!

It’s the day with the least amount of sunlight, or as they say, the darkest day of the year.  With apologies to the southern hemisphere, let’s talk about some of the darkest beers we should be drinking on this dark day. 

I’ve mentioned Brooklyn Black Ops before, specifically in the solstice post from 2018, but it’s still an amazing beer. This year, Brooklyn has released Black Ops in 16oz cans, and a Four Roses Small Batch version, which is what I purchased. This beer is just superb all around. It’s smooth and rich and just freaking EXPLODING with flavor. Chocolate and some coffee and rich bourbon  and roasty notes.  It blows my mind how smooth it is too, beers that come in at 12.4% ABV usually burn a little, especially when they haven’t been aged. And this beer is dark for sure, but keep in mind that drinking 16oz of 12.4% beer is roughly equivalent to four Bud Lights. 

Next up we have this fun beer from Tree House, Cafe Kola, that I purchased back in the summer when I was in Cape Cod. This is another rich imperial stout. Kola is Tree House’s coffee liqueur, which I have not tried, and this beer is meant as a complement to that. It is ALSO quite dark, though the ABV on this one is slightly lower at 10%, and comes in a 12oz bottle. There’s actual coffee in this one, so it gives it a lot more bitter/roast notes that just balance out everything else so nicely. Complex, chocolatey, delicious and not too sweet. I’d have welcomed another one of these.

Kilgore Stout is drinking an Empire State Brewing Black Magic Nitro Stout


We’ll be talking about the Darkest Beer for Darkest Days thing when we record the podcast tonight, so stay tuned for that. Will we compare it to the Mets Black Jerseys? Only time will tell. 

SRM isn’t a great measurement, though it suffices for measuring how dark a beer is. One thing I like to do to assess is the next day, when I wash my dirty beer glass that had a dark beer in it, is to fill it up with water and see how dark the residue makes it. This Cafe Kola water is darker than many a beer.


Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s probably baking too many cookies.  You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.


The Darkest Beer Holiday

It’s time again for the winter solstice and time again to drink the darkest beer for the darkest days.

Let’s make this one a tribute to Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout. A true classic. A delicious no-nonsense Russian Imperial Stout. There’s nothing added to this beer, no gimmicks, no pastries, no lactose. It’s a 10% darker than night, true pleasure of the winter season, beer.

It also ages fantastically. I’m on record as enjoying high alcohol beers more a year out than fresh. I’m not opposed to drinking a Black Chocolate Stout fresh, but I typically buy some and start drinking ones from last year, or even older than that. I had a 2018 this week, and it was just terrific. The alcohol burn you’d get fresh had mellowed into a roasty, bitter chocolate deliciousness. I actually did a three year vertical of this beer a few years back, which was a lot of fun. I still have one of those in my cellar, which is five years old now. I think I’ll open that one this season too.

Don’t fret though, I have plenty of other darkest beers to drink this season. I think I might celebrate the solstice with the Collective Arts beer on the header image, Origin Of Darkness. The store had a few variations of it, but I couldn’t resist the one with chocolate and pistachio cannoli. Dragon’s Milk is also a delicious one, and the heaviest of all of these. Arecibo by Alementary is more of a sweet stout, with the lactose and the coconut. It’s a beautiful pairing of flavors. That’s a good one to open while backing cookies.

Enjoy the Winter Solstice, beer’s newest drinking holiday. 

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s racking up the dark beers. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.