Alesmith's Wee Heavy (Richard Derk / Los Angeles…)
Alesmith makes this brew all year, but strong, malty ales of its sort really come into their own in cold weather. "Wee Heavy" is the traditional name for a Scottish ale style that is something like a Gaelic cousin to bock: rich, malty and viscous with lots of caramel flavors, relatively low in hops.
This one pours medium brown with a tan head. The nose is milk chocolate crossed with carob, plus something grainy or grassy. The palate is molasses-sweet with just a hint of hops, and the finish is long and sweet. Think of it as liquid dessert with a punch (10% alcohol by volume).
It's a beer for winter dishes — beef stew, roast pork, Welsh rarebit — but perhaps mostly for sipping before the fire.
Style: Rich, malty and caramel, with a punch
Price: $10 to $11.50 per 22-ounce bottle
Where to find it: Wade's Wines in Westlake Village, (818) 597-9463, http://www.wadeswines.com; Red Carpet Wine , 400 E. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, (800) 339-0609, http://www.redcarpetwine.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; Beverages & More, http://www.bevmo.com; and Total Wine http://www.totalwine.com.