If you head to your local beer shop at this time of year, you are likely to see a proliferation of pumpkin-flavoured ales, cinnamon-spiced Christmas specials and a host of bock beers. Among these winter specials, you may well spot Gulpener Wintervrund.

Wintervrund is produced in the Dutch province of Limburg by the long-established Gulpener Brewery, which started brewing back in 1825. Limburg is known for its agricultural heritage and Gulpner makes use of locally grown hops and barley in producing its impressive annual output of 110,000 hectolitres of beer.

Gulpner, an independent brewer, grabbed the attention of Dutch beer lovers in the 1980s by launching a series of special beers, long before craft beer had become ‘en vogue’. More recently, the brewery has participated in a number of collaborations, meaning the Gulpener name is worth looking out for if you fancy trying something unusual.

This particular seasonal brew is ebony in colour and features a creamy, fawn head. The aroma of Wintervrund has hints of caramel. It has a rich, sweet flavour with a slightly malty finish, plus a faint hint of liquorice. A factor in that is the use of Hallertauer Taurus hops, one of the strains used in brewing Wintervrund, which is renowned for providing a peppery, spicy finish.
Unsurprisingly, this is a beer that pairs well with hearty cuisine such as stews and roast meat. Try it, if you can, instead of wine with a dish made with wild boar. Alternatively, simply slip into a comfy fireside seat on a chilly evening and savour a cold Wintervrund.

Brewer: Gulpener Brewery

Strength: 8.5 per cent

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