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New Belgium Brewing | Holiday Ale

New Belgium Holiday Ale
Jaclyn Menendez

I don’t know when exactly it started, but at some point in my voracious drinking career, I realized that I mentally connect certain breweries with certain seasons. During June and July, I almost exclusively drink from Outer Range Brewing—whatever they’re making automatically becomes my summer go-to. Then when the leaves change and the nights get cooler, all I want is Odell Brewing: their amber ale, their tropical sour; I don’t care about the style, I just want whatever they’re brewing. And, for as long as I can remember, my winter palate has belonged to New Belgium Brewing.

In the past it was their Frambozen ale or their La Folie sour, or even their white IPA, but this year it’s a bit more on the nose: their new Holiday Ale is helping to cement New Belgium as my go-to wintertime brewery.

Three cans of New Belgium Holiday Ale in front of a stack of firewood on a brick hearth.

New to their seasonal lineup this year, Holiday Ale is described as “a winter warmer [with] festive aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, followed by flavors of cranberry, orange and a pinch of brown sugar.“ Personally, the two things I look for in a holiday beer when I’m drinking around extended family are high ABV and relatively crushable. Holiday Ale delivers on both fronts with 7.5% ABV but a light, copper-colored pour and subtle notes of tart cranberry and spice. It sort of reminds me of cranberry ginger ale, except this version will help you survive strained conversations with your uncle as he makes odd passive-aggressive comments about “the real America.” Holiday Ale is light enough that it won’t compete with rich festive meals but flavorful enough that you feel downright jolly as you’re slinging them back.

Six cans of New Belgium holiday ale in front of a cheerfully glowing fireplace grate.

New Belgium’s Holiday Ale is a six-pack of Christmas spirit. I don’t know when it became my winter brewery, but with this addition, it’s staying that way.

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