Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Favorite Holiday Beers

When I say "holiday", I primarily mean Christmas, but these beers can and should be enjoyed whatever your winter celebration. Most holiday beers vary their recipe, or at least their batch, from year to year. As a result, there is a welcome inconsistency with each new calendar. While I always prefer my beers served the American way, that is, cold, each of the brews on this list have a bit of spice or an extra push of alcohol: both suitably will warm you up this season. Here are ten suggestions for your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year's or whichever festive occasion you've got on the docket for these cold, winter months. Why six? These are the only ones I know!

10. K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale by Flying Dog Brewery (Denver, CO)
Style: Dark and malty ale
Alcohol: 6.4%
The beers of Flying Dog are at their best when kicking you in the teeth with excessive hops. This is not one of those cases, but hey, it's got a dog on the label! And it's snowboarding!
9. Winter Wheat by Middle Ages Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)
Style: Wheat beer
Alcohol: 6.3%
You don't usually find light wheat beers on the December shelf. This drink warrants mentioning simply for that.
8. Winter Welcome Ale by Samuel Smith Brewery (Tadcaster, Yorkshire, England)
Style: Winter warmer
Alcohol: 6%
Very similar in look and flavor to other brown English ales. Nothing specifically holiday about it, other than the packaging.
7. Noche Buena by Moctezuma (Monterrey, NL, Mexico)
Style: Munich dark lager/bock
Alcohol: 4.8
Traditionally, this beer is meant to be had on Christmas Eve. It is made by the same Mexican brewery that does Sol and Bohemia, this dark lager bears the traits of the same German settlers of northern Mexico, south and central Texas.
6. Winter Waissal by Saranac (Utica, NY)
Style: Spiced Ale
Alcohol: 5.9
I've waxed poetic before about Saranac's more than solid run of beers. Here is another one for the list.
5. Christmas Ale by Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston, TX)
Style: Spicy ale
Alcohol: 7%
The Saint Arnold beers are rather under-appreciated in the world of microbrews. Doesn't help that they stem from a state that positively loves its mass-marketed pilsners. Worth your dollar, though.
4. Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic by Boston Beer Company (Boston, MA)
Style: Fruit beer
Alcohol: 5.9%
The first one is damn tasty, the second a bit sweet, the third very sweet and every successive pint too much.
3. Old Fezziwig Ale by Boston Beer Company (Boston, MA
Style: Spicy dessert beer
Alcohol: 5.6%
Not a beer you would have with dinner, but a fine accompaniment to a thick holiday dessert.
2. Anchor Christmas Ale by Anchor Brewing Company (San Fransisco, CA)
Style: Spiced beer
Alcohol: 5.5%
The poster child for a seasonal beer. Every year, the recipe changes so that no two vintages are the same. To coincide with the flavor, Anchor alters the label each time - not too much, though. It's still recognizable as an Anchor in flavor and on the shelf.
1. Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA).
Style: Winter Ale
Alcohol: 6.8%
Not just my favorite holiday beer, but one of my more beloved brews altogether.

So what'd I miss?


Blogger emilie said...

DUDE. Did you read my own similar posting or what??

February 27, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

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