With the first wave in the war on the weather at our doorstep (aka, La Nina), its important to seek shelter from the bitter rains, winds, and cold of this years weather. A psychological side affect of this need for warmth and shelter, often comes in the form a little self-medication. For most this is a cup of coffee of hot cocoa, but for the adults out there I can be either a shot of whiskey, a glass of wine, or a pint of dark brew.

Since November, Left Hand has been one of those small voices in your ear, asking you to enjoy two of their recent releases; Fade to Black Volume III Smoked Baltic Porter and Wake Up Dead Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.

Fade to Black, now in its third iteration, is a celebration of the darkness. A time when people start feeling a little more tired as sun is smothered the evening darkness. It’s a time when we fall back an hour and feel a little more eager to pull the curtains down or feed the fire.

Here is what the brewery has to say about this year’s Fade to Black & Wake Up Dead.

Creatively brewed to pair with shorter, darker days, Fade to Black, Volume II is a Smoked Baltic Porter that pours black as night with a mocha colored head.  Sweet and toasty aromas are balanced by notes of licorice and black strap molasses, smoky phenols and minty hop notes. And like “some late visitor entreating entrance at your chamber door”, eight different malts and two different hop varieties impart roasted malt flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee, dark toffee and a hop bitterness that creates “darkness there, and nothing more.” Its 7.8% ABV gives way to a feeling of self loathing, burnt opportunities and smoked relationships.

Yet creeping into your bedroom & slipping into bed to hide from your own darkness won’t lessen the pain, as the shortest day of the year is quickly approaching. The night is long, but the morning does arrive. You’ve woken up dead. You’re in ruins. On the brink of catastrophe. But don’t be discouraged. You are ripe for a revolution! But like the Bolshevik Revolution of the early 1900’s, Wake Up Dead, our 10.2% ABV barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is required. Wake Up Dead hibernates in our cellars for 12 months in Heaven Hill Brandy Barrels before being blended to woody perfection. Hints of raisins, cherry, licorice and toffee, followed by earthy, herbal hop notes rise up, joining you in your fight for the hope of a better life.

And as we eventually creep back to brighter days, leaving the shadowy hours behind, so too, will this year’s Fade to Black & Wake Up Dead. For each and every year Fade to Black will change, but the name will remain the same. So, for this year’s Smoked Baltic Porter, to quote the brewer, “Nevermore”.

image courtesy of Left Hand BrewingMore about Fade to Black, Volume II

Inspired by Pillage & Burn, our 2009 collaboration with (then-brewers) Shaun Hill & Anders Kissmeyer of Nørrebro Bryghus that was brewed & sold in Denmark exclusively, Fade to Black Volume II is the mischievous little brother to our other smoked beer, Smokejumper (2009 GABF Gold Medal winner - and don’t forget that Fade to Black, Volume I, which was a Foreign Stout, won Gold at this year’s GABF.). Anders even made the trek to the US in September to help brew a batch of this year’s Fade to Black. And since we’re smoke fiends, we don’t simply buy smoked malt – that would be too easy. We smoke our own malt (taking over 30 days!) over wood from a 100-year old hackberry tree from our head brewer’s family homestead in Nebraska. Available in 6 packs and kegs, and distributed throughout Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan (western only), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Alaska, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and select European countries.

image courtesy of Left Hand BrewingMore about Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead

Part of our Big Mo Series of limited edition beers, Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead is brewed every 2 years, so it will re-appear in 2012 in oak barrels yet to be disclosed. It is very limited, as we only brewed 100 barrels. Non-barrel aged Wake Up Dead in 22oz bombers will be on shelves starting in 2011. Available in 22oz bombers and kegs, and distributed throughout Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan (western only), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

About Left Hand Brewing Company

Celebrating seventeen years of brewing a well-balanced portfolio of craft beers, Left Hand Brewing Company is located at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado. The brewery has received 17 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and its beers are now available in 28 states. “Sometimes you’re not in the mood for what everyone else is having.”

As always look for both of these beers on shelves or on draft and if you don’t see don’t see it, ask your server or grocer to buy you some!

Cheers

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