From coast-to-coast we’d like to toast to you and yours this holiday season. We all celebrate Christmas in our own way, and with our own favorite beers. Cheers to Christmas beers with friends and family, let us know how you celebrate in the comments.
Amanda W: With all of the breweries, holiday beer releases, and popup shops one must get a game plan for this time of year. That also means finding the perfect holiday beer for your Christmas table.
Christmas beers have always been a favorite of mine, starting with Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Now, I have become more adventurous in terms of styles and flavors. I found that the charlotte beer scene had provided me with new favorites:
Triple C Brewing Co., White Blaze: this is perfect winter ale. As soon as the pint is poured there is an aroma of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. There is even a hint of nutty malt in the background. Triple C brews this beer every year and I have been lucky to have it for two winters now. Once you taste this beer, the vanilla is so prominent you immediately get a warming mouth feel. At the end of the sip that is when the holiday spices some through, creating a wonderful experience. The best part is this year Triple C decided to can this seasonal treat. I know that this beer will be a mainstay at my holiday table.
Sugar Creek Brewing Co., Mocha Java Porter: this is a wonderful winter warmer. The immediate aroma is of coffee and a hint of chocolate. Once I know that this beer has been released I am there ready for a pint. I believe that this beer is one of the best coffee infused porters I have ever had.
Happy Holiday’s from to my beer loving family in Charlotte, NC!!
Colleen L: This year for the holidays, I am looking forward to sipping some beers that I can’t find in Houston, TX. If I had to name one that I’m most excited for, it would be Great Lakes Christmas Ale. My family always enjoys sharing holiday themed beers over the many days before and after Christmas, and this is one I always enjoy each year. This beer always goes nicely with any holiday meal due to the winter spice flavors that come through in the beer.
When it comes to beers that aren’t holiday or spiced, I can’t wait to have some Bell’s Two Hearted. I already had family pick some cans for me to enjoy and I can’t wait!
Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season. Cheers to good craft beer in 2016!
Chelsie: I’m doing the Go Big or Go Home route with Dogfish Head Fort. It’s a belgian-style big beer weighing in at 17% ABV. Although it’s brewed with gobs of raspberry juice don’t think this is a fru-fru girly beer. It’s got that wonderful boozey almost barleywine vibe going on. I’ve got a bottle to cellar and a bottle to drink RIGHT NOW.
April: At this year’s Christmas Eve get together my beer of choice is an English Christmas ale called Pickled Santa brewed by Ridgeway Brewery in England and imported by Shelton Brothers of Belchertown, MA. At 6% ABV, this Christmas ale fills the air with spices as soon you pop the top. It contains cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander and tastes like brown sugar and hints of fruit. I personally enjoy drinking Christmas ales in a glass rimmed with honey, cinnamon and sugar. It enhances the flavors and is oh so delicious. Besides a few pints of Pickled Santa I may purchase a few other beers brewed by Ridgeway such as Very Bad Elf and Seriously Bad Elf.
Pickled Santa will not be the only beverage of the night and it pairs well with my aunt’s famous Wassel, Wassell or Wassail, however you choose to spell it: the combo of cider, cinnamon, and cloves will compliment any Christmas ale.
Colleen N: If you live in Central PA and love beer Christmas only means one thing… Mad Elf! There’s so exception at my house. I tend to keep it in my fridge through the whole holiday season. I often refer to Mad Elf as the “mashed potatoes of beer” because it just tastes comforting. It’s like an old familiar friend that only comes around at this magical time of year.
In recent years, beer has also become and important part of my family’s Christmas morning. Instead of sipping coffee or egg nog, we often sip on pints or snifters. I usually like to enjoy a coffee stout while exchanging gifts. In the past we’ve had Terrapin’s Wake and Bake on the kegerator and a growler of Monocacy’s Brewtus. This year I’m hosting Christmas morning at my house for the first time, and I’m keeping it local! We’ll be cracking open some crowlers of Pizza Boy’s Sunny Side Up!
Amanda D: For our Christmas celebration, I’m cracking open a bottle of Dry Dock Signature Series Double Vanilla Porter, which spent 10 months in whiskey barrels. I haven’t had this year’s batch, but the 2014 version was delicious. Sweet vanilla bean hits first while prominent whiskey flavor quickly follows. Although this beer is sweet, it also has a touch of roasted malt and oak barrel character to keep it from being cloying.
To me, Christmas is the perfect occasion for dessert beer. Nearly any Christmas dessert would pair well with this beer, but I especially love it with caramel-heavy confections. One of my favorite desserts to bake this time of year is a bourbon-orange sticky toffee pudding, which would pair well with the sweet vanilla. I could also eat a lot of pumpkin cheesecake with this beer.
Sonora: Fall is my favorite season for beer, but winter is a close second – due largely to the delicious Christmas beers on the market. Most Christmas beers seem to be liquid mince pies, which I’m absolutely okay with. But, I’d have to say my favorite holiday variety is the gingerbread stout. The spices blend really well with the roasty flavors of a stout, and done properly, a good gingerbread stout is just what I need to make the season bright. My personal favorite is Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, which is made with honey, spices, and local fresh baby ginger. My husband sees the Christmas season as the perfect time for dark Belgian beers, and I’m inclined to agree. The malty sweetness, heavy texture, and high ABV all lend themselves to a proper winter brew. We usually toast Christmas Eve with St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, and Santa has been known to leave a bottle of Gouden Carolus Noël in his stocking. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Tierney: Christmas for us is very, very hectic with so many people to see and so much to do. Christmas Eve I will find some Zeroday Brewing Grievance in my glass at a party or two (read all about that brew here). Christmas dinner is at one, and I hear my brother is bringing a mixed case of Tröegs, so I’ll have a Scratch Chocolate Stout. After Dad’s house later in the day (wine?) and then yards of homebrew with friends in the evening, it’s a long day.
The one thing the bf and I always take time to do for ourselves is enjoy Christmas morning. I make breakfast while we get ready for our day. We split a few brews over breakfast and open our gifts just us. On the breakfast beer list this year we have Brewery at Hershey’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Mean Cask (coffee stout) for sure, maybe we’ll open a Bourbon County.