#12beersofchristmas – PorchDrinking.com
Cover photo by Simon Offord
ABV: 7.6% | IBU: 35
Dankota Fanning, Barbarian Steissand and Wicked Juicy are a few of the names of beers made by one of the best breweries in the Bay Area: Cellarmaker Brewing Company. Conveniently located in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood of San Francisco, anytime you find yourself nearby is a great time to enjoy some of the finest brews around. Their motto is “Beer Without Limits” and they live by the creed that they are a “neighborhood brewery making fresh beer for the Bay Area. Hoppy, dark, Belgian, barrel aged, etc. We enjoy making a wide variety of brews.” Their attention to detail and expertise at their craft really shows through their beer.
Who doesn’t love a good holiday beer?! For myself specifically, I look for something either reminiscent of hot cocoa or coffee this time of the year. I want a drink that makes me feel like I could hold it close, like a recently opened present, while sitting in front of the fire surrounded by loved ones, (who are obviously all in matching pajamas) on Christmas morning. Yes, my holiday beer must be a brew with cozy flavors I can sip slowly, while watching my younger sister Jamie unwrap the EXACT Furby that I wanted (no, wait, sorry that was in 1998).
What better way to get acquainted with Holiday beer than a December beer festival offering local, national and imported selections? For instance, BrewLights 2016 — a craft beer festival held amidst Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal family, adorned by a plethora of holiday lights and accompanied by plenty of holiday tunes. The scene at BrewLights made it tough not to get into the holiday spirit. Throw in a little nip in the air and the smell of Christmas beer, and it’s as if Santa himself has arranged the party. As you shop this year, it may be difficult to know what holiday-seasonal beers to purchase, so let’s go through the 12 beer samples of Christmas provided at BrewLights 2016.
Prairie Artisan Ales – Christmas Bomb!
Merry Christmas everybody! Hope everyone gets exactly what they want this year!
I’ve already doted on Prairie Artisan Ales and, more namely, Prairie Bomb! on several occasions. When I caught word that Prairie was building a new bomb, a bigger and more powerful bomb, a Christmas Bomb!, I was of the utmost stoked. Billed as the O.G. Bomb! with “Christmas spices” added or “brewed with spices”, Prairie does well to not over-bill this as a completely different beer. It is, essentially, Bomb! with Christmas spices added or Bomb! “brewed with spices.” And that; that is why I love it so much!
When Mrs. Claus hangs her flour-splotched apron after a night of baking scrumptious goodies, a bottle of Winter Cheers is her perfect pat-on-the-back. A little known fact, her jolly old man makes Downingtown, Pennsylvania his last stop on Christmas morning to bring her a snow-cold stash fresh from the Victory Brewing Company every year to enjoy together. Always having admired this hard-working First Lady of the North, I decided to follow suit.
Like many others on this site, I love ginger. Love it, love it, love it. Obviously then, gingerbread cookies are my favorite of all the Christmas-cookie options. Adding insult to injury, or the opposite in my case, there are now quite a few beers out there I can coin as liquid gingerbread. Or something very deliciously close to that. We already have a beer for this year’s 12 Beers of Christmas that is perfect for gingerbread lovers, a stout that is fuller than the typical one you would place in the “Christmas Ale” section at the store. Therefore, let’s have another example of ginger doing the right things: Revolution Brewing Fistmas Ale. Yes, our waltz with gingerbread can be sated once more!
When kids think of Christmas, they generally think of a jovial fat man and the presents he bribes in return for good behavior. Although it wasn’t for good behavior, I was rewarded a 6-pack of Fat Head’s Holly Jolly Christmas Ale from my older brother because my Indianapolis Colts stomped on his Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season.
Christmas is a time of joy and laughter and good feelings. It’s also a time where one freaks out thinking of perfect gift ideas, is over-commited to attend too many parties in 3 weeks, and deals with high-stress travel plans that all conspire to drive you insane. When I was 13, my family took over hosting duties for my mom’s 7 siblings and their family. By Christmas Eve, we weren’t speaking to each other and the only carols I heard were the frantic string instruments in my head like the score to Martha, Inc.
Winter Spiced Ale | 7.9% ABV | 45 IBUs
Ah, winter time. When the weather is perfectly suited for the warming effects of the winter beers that pepper our local craft beer purveyor. Every year I see more new examples of the style, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 10% ABV
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the winter brews coming and everyone lifting their pint glass to “cheers”, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
‘Tis the season to sample the myriad Christmas concoctions that are offered throughout the cold months every year. At this time of year, I’m always on the lookout for something I’ve never tried before. Goose Island, always innovating and experimenting, provided that opportunity with this year’s version of their “Sixth Day” Christmas Ale.
Style: Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Background: We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and beer. Well not exactly the words of Buddy the elf but, he would definitely like Port Brewing’s 2011 Bourbon Barrel Aged Santa’s Little Helper. The barrel aged version has spent an extra 9 months in bourbon barrels and this particular bottle has spent just a little bit over a year in the cellar allowing the flavors to meld into the perfect helper to get you through the holidays.
What better adjective to describe the holiday spirit than Jolly? Jolly Pumpkin brewery delivers their holiday beer with great complexity to the tune of Brettanomyces funk. This malty brew is best served with many leather bound books and an abode that smells of rich mahogany. Enjoy this sophisticated Noel de Calabaza.
Style: American Style IPA
Celebrate good times, come on!
It’s a celebration
Celebrate good times, come on!