by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

A cold weather game against the Jaguars means one thing. A built in advantage for the Pats – maybe?

Snow on the field – possible. Goodell launches an investigation into snowballs being thrown at Phil Simms- hopefully.

Aaaayyyy! Sit on it Potsie.
Aaaayyyy! Sit on it Potsie.

But those pale in comparison to Jack Del Rio wearing his Fonzie jacket on the sidelines.

The Pats have a chance to not only clinch the AFC East this weekend, but they can also help the Jags jump the shark right out of playoff contention. A two headed attack not seen since the Malachi Crunch.

What to eat?

Christmas was just 2 days ago, so lets use up some of those leftovers and grill up some ham steaks.

If you don’t have any leftovers, or if you didn’t have ham go buy one. They’re really cheap now.

All Jacked Up Christmas Ham (serves 4)
Ham – precooked, 2 pounds
Apricot jelly – 1 jar
Brown sugar – 1/4 cup

Mix the apricot jelly and the brown sugar. Heating for a short time in a microwave may help it come together. This can be done the day before cooking.

Slice ham into 1″ slices. Go around the outside of the steak and score the fat about every 1.5 inches. This will prevent the ham from curling up as it grills

Heat your grill to a medium to medium high level 350 to 400 degrees. We will cook the ham over direct heat, so turn all burners on.

Grill the ham for 10 minutes on one side. Flip, glaze with the apricot jelly, grill for 5 minutes on the opposite side.

Thats it, a simple recipe after the months long runup to overly complicated Holiday dinners.

What to drink?

This week we’re running down some of the winter seasonals that invade liquor stores earlier every year. As a seasonal and not a beer style, the individual beers are varied and can differ greatly from brewery to brewery.

One of the traditional types is the Winter Warmer. A version of the English Old Ale, Winter Warmers tend to be brewed with some darker malts – with the resulting caramel, chocolate and roast flavors and aromas almost always appearing. Usually they’ll have a full slightly sweet body.

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome is one of the oldest and best examples. Not terribly strong at 6.0% ABV it’s full of caramel and earthy British hopflavors and aromas.

Fairly similar is Redhook Winterhook Winter Ale.  Another 6.0% ABV beer with caramel and chocolate flavors.

Looking locally, Berkshire Brewing offers Cabin Fever Ale.  A 6.3% ABV Winter Warmer similar to a big German Alt beer.

Another common style is the Winter or Christmas Spiced beer. Usually a dark malty beer like a Winter Warmer with spices added. The spices will commonly include cinammon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg or anything that is commonly used in Christmas baked goods. Generally they’ll taste like an underhopped Winter Warmer or Amber Ale with whatever spices are added.

The original American offering is Anchor Our Special Ale. Introduced in 1975 this beer undergoes recipe changes every year. The spice profile will change, but the beer usually comes in around 5.5% ABV. Anchor Our Special Ale ages very well, the antioxidant properties of the dark malts and spices counteracting the low ABV. I had a bottle of 1986 in 2006 and it was still drinkable.

Harpoon Winter Warmer is one of the most commonly found winter spice beers. The ABV is 5.9% and the caramel malt is almost hidden by the strong cinammon and nutmeg aroma and flavor.

One beer that almost everyone has tried, but that isn’t usually thought of as a spiced beer is Sam Adams Winter Lager. Technically it’s a Spiced DunkleWeizenBock if such a thing existed. 5.9% ABV and spiced with cinammon, ginger and orange peel.

Harder to find than the Winter Lager is Sam Adams Old Fezziwig. The ingredients are not that different from the Winter Lager. Cinammon, ginger and orange peel still provide the spicing. But as an ale, Fezziwig has a more robust taste.

Far larger than the beers above, Troeg’s Mad Elf Ale is brewed with honey, cherries and Belgian yeast. It’s a full flavored 11% ABV beer more suited to sipping than chugging.

There are also a number of winter beers that do not fall under the Winter Warmer or Winter Spiced beer categories:

Harpoon has added a second winter seasonal. This one in the American stout category. Harpoon Chocolate Stout has 5.9% ABV with a lot of chocolate flavor and aroma from the chocolate malt used. No actual chocolate is used, chocolate malt is a highly roasted form of malt that takes on chocolate and even coffee notes.

Southern Tier goes much bigger with their winter stout. Choklat is a 9.1% ABV chocolate in a bottle. The chocolate flavor in this one has to be tasted to be believed.

Newly arrived in New England is Goose Island Bourbon County Stout from Chicago. It’s a big 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels. Russian Imperial Stouts are rich, complex beers noted for their roasted flavors such as coffee, chocolate mixed with char and caramel. Usually they’ll often show off a dark fruit character such as cherry or plum, which comes from the malt and the fermentation not from actual fruit.

Brooklyn Brewery has a BCS of their own. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout runs a little lower at 10.1% ABV and is not aged in Bourbon barrels, but don’t let that fool you. It is as good as the Goose Island Bourbon County

Brooklyn also puts out a winter seasonal in the Barleywine style. Brooklyn Monster is a heavy 10.8% ABV sipping beer perfect for cold snowy weather. Barleywines are strong, malty beers, the top of the pyramid of English beer styles.

Sierra Nevada also goes with a barleywine for one of their winter seasonals. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is a big 9.6% American style Barleywine. As an American style it’s very hoppy, about as hoppy as a Double IPA. It’s what you’d expect from the brewery that invented the American Pale Ale style with Sierra Nevada Pale ale. You can think of this as a much bigger brother to SNPA. However the body is much fuller than simply a scaled up pale ale. This beer stands up extremely well to aging, improving for at least 3 years if not longer.Not being left off the barleywine bandwagon is the brewery that made the first barleywine in America .. at least in about 100 years.

If ‘first in America’ sounds familiar thats because it’s Anchor Brewing again with Old Foghorn Barleywine. OK so this is actually a year round brew. When it comes to winter beer I’m not leaving Old Foghorn off the list, it’s made for cold weather. They’ve been producing this since 1975, when every other beer in America was a cold flavorless yellow colored soft drink.

Looking locally .. again, Berkshire Brewing offers Holidale. This 9.5% American Barleywine goes a step further by including some of the spices common to winter spice beers. See what you can pick out beyond cinammon.

Similar to a barleywine, but invented in Scotland is the Wee Heavy. Just as malty as the barleywine, but usually with more caramel character. Hopping levels are even lower in the Wee Heavy, and the fermentation is very clean done at near lager temperatures. Paper City from Holyoke, MA puts out Winter Palace Wee Heavy as their winter seasonal. 8% ABV and a good example of the style.

A bit small for a Wee Heavy, but still good is Long Trail Hibernator. A 6% ABV scotch ale it’s an easy drinking malty beer.

From one extreme to another, as focused as a Wee Heavy is on malt, an India Pale Ale is focused on hops. Sierra Nevada’s second winter seasonal is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. My favorite beer, this 6.8% IPA was revolutionary when first introduced and is still a standout today. Fitting it’s winter release it’s a little darker in color and has more of a malty body than most other IPAs.

A beer unto itself, but mixing the qualities of an Imperial IPA and a Barleywine is Stone Double Bastard. This winter seasonal is the big brother of Stone Arrogant Bastard. 10.5% ABV, outrageously hoppy and only packaged in bottles that are just stupidly large for a beer so strong. There is a strong chance that you won’t like this beer, but also a chance you’ll love it.

Another direction you may find winter seasonals is breweries going Belgian.

Smuttynose does this with their Winter Ale. Small compared to most of the beers above at only 4.8%, Winter Ale is kind of like the brewery’s Old Brown Dog ale but fermented with Belgian yeast.

You’ll find many winter seasonals beyond the 21 listed above. Almost every brewery makes one, and it seems like most breweries are now making more than one. Beers that aren’t listed above will probably fall into one of the categories that were listed.