#christmasbeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
One thing that has remained consistent this year in the world of craft beer is the tried and true cadence of much-anticipated seasonal beer releases. While spring, summer and fall releases might be more frequent, a few special beers are released in the build up leading up to Christmas. Great Lakes Brewing Co‘s Christmas Ale, from the OG out of Cleveland, is one of those beers.
By far, my favorite holiday beer is Brasserie Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux (translated as “with good wishes”). It’s made year-round, but only brought to the United States during winter. The beer began as a treat to brewery visitors during the holidays and, as it only makes its way to the United States around the holidays, it remains a special treat for us.
It’s a well regarded fact that the best beer to make you recall fond memories of Christmases of yore is a terrifically dark, malty ale. Perhaps it’s spiced, like Great Lake Christmas Ale. Maybe it’s minty with deep chocolate notes. Or it could be barrel-aged, resulting in a boozy, syrupy confection that’s meant to inoculate you from the inevitable holiday hangover. But what if, just this one time, you wanted to enjoy a Christmas beer that embodies the current haze craze? Well, we’ve found the beer for you.
When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, our taste buds seem to sense the change in barometric pressure and start to crave those darker, roasted malts. There is a coziness that is associated with a stout by the fireside or watching rainfall while sipping on a malty winter mistress of a Cascadian dark ale. The winter seasonals start to hit the shelves just in time for the holidays and are invariably associated with happy, festive memories.
Cheer and happiness and all that festive crap is important, I suppose. But once in a while, the get-off-my-lawn crowd needs a shoutout. If you love the holidays and feel all warm and tingly at the sight of fresh December snow, this ain’t the article for you, Cindy Lou Who. This one’s for the grinches, the scrooges, the grown Charlie Browns; the curmudgeonly and cantankerous cranks of the world.
My promise to you right off the bat, is that there will be no cute rhymes here. If there’s anything I hate more than holiday music, it’s the nauseating rhymes companies try to incorporate into everything. Between the stress of shopping, the weather, traffic and that unbearable Mariah Carey song, we need an Ultimate 6er – and not just any 6er – to get us through to New Year’s Day. There are 12 shopping days left until Christmas, and today is 12/12. So here’s a 6er of beers that are all at least 12% ABV to pair with the season’s most pervasive annoyances.
The holidays are behind us and it’s time to put away the tree and restore the yard to it’s former non-whimsical state. While most folks are scouring stores for deeply discounted wares or decorations for next year, I’ll be driving around town looking for the last of the Saint Arnold’s Christmas Ale. Even though Christmas has officially past, this rich, malty old ale pairs perfectly with cold weather and hearty meals and is only available from October through December each year.
Just when you think you know what to expect from a Christmas Ale, Around the Bend Beer Company comes along and provides a unique holiday surprise — the Pretty Lights Belgian Tripel with Cranberry and Almond. Although this beer is exceedingly capable of standing on its own, it would be tough to find a beer more suited for pairing with a holiday feast.
Revolution Brewing has ensured that craft beer lovers won’t go lacking for quality craft beer options this Christmas. After the recent successes of their League of Heroes IPA line and the first cans of their Deep Wood series, Revolution is back with more options from both lines – so get excited.
I’m a strict “No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving” kind of guy. I threaten to fire employees, yell loudly when I hear the faint jingling of bells, and I materialize as the physical embodiment of “Bah Humbug” until Santa’s sleigh arrives with the Macy’s Day Parade. While some of my fervor may be out of respect for Thanksgiving (a very underrated bacchanalian holiday where the goal is to hang out with those close to you and consume things like you were an H2 on a road trip), I also get really sick of Christmas music. Living in LA it feels wrong walking outside singing “Let It Snow” when it is 90 degrees out on Thanksgiving. In case you are wondering, that was not hyperbole—it was 90 degrees on Thanksgiving this year.
ABV: 14.0% | IBU: 65
Fremont Brewing delivers another liquid giant to liven up another holiday season. Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb is the awesomely adjunct-ed, cooler and even more popular older cousin of Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Ale, Fremont’s flagship bourbon barrel aged beer. It can be found lounging around the MoonTower, slicking back it’s long golden waxy locks, and murmuring phrases like: “Alright, alright, alright.”
When the weather outside gets frightful, a nice big imperial stout can be very delightful, but you should be sure that you’ve got no place to go. For me, one of my favorite big imperial stouts during the holiday season is Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper. Like sweet baby Jesus, Santa’s Little Helper is pure and good in every way. The beer doesn’t have any “holiday seasoning” in it, which is a nice break after pumpkin beer season to avoid nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, etc.
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.
The week of Christmas is a time to curl up by the warm fire, cold brew in hand whilst watching something festive. We all have our go-to movies to watch around this time of year. Here are six beer and movie pairings to get PorchDrinkers in the holiday spirit!
ABV: 9.2% | IBU: 11
Let me preface this showcase: Upslope’s standard Christmas Ale is a really solid holiday dubbel. The Abbey Ale Yeast adds pleasant notes of dried fruit to the beer’s expected holiday spice to create a unique flavor. By any measure, it’s a good holiday beer.
That said, the Upslope Wild Christmas Ale takes it to a new and unexpected level.
ABV: 10.5% | IBU: 30
We’re still getting into the holiday spirit; almost two weeks until the 25th arrives! Once again, I have a Belgian Ale for your enjoyment, this time from Fat Head’s Brewery brewed in the sunny Cleveland area. I’m not joking this time around; we’ve actually had a mild and somewhat sunny late fall with little snow. Hopefully that will change soon. As we wait for the wintry weather, I would advise you all to stock up on your heavy ales, and Fat Head Brewery’s Pimp My Sleigh is a perfect choice for your evenings around the Yule Log this holiday season.
ABV — 9.5%
IBU — approximately 20
It’s that time of year. Yes, Christmas is coming up, quickly, and this year the amount of early Christmas seems to have reached an even higher level! Hints of the season have already begun popping up all over the place: in department stores, specialty shops, on your friends’ Facebook feeds. Truth be told, you don’t have to go to Bronner’s in Michigan to get your taste of the holidays early anymore. Additionally, Christmas ale releases have already happened, much to many people’s delight. Even though one the biggest cult beer followings in Cleveland is the Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company—which is awesome this year, by the way, better than the last couple of years—Platform Beer Company has released a very nice, very different style of ale for your holiday imbibing needs: Esther Belgian Christmas Ale.
Christmas has a powerful way of finding you where ever you may be. Last year was my first Christmas spent away from home. My folks were in Hong Kong for …
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!
Christmas songs play on the radio way too early and holiday sales seem to go up before the kids have even picked out their Halloween costumes. But as annoying as starting Christmas too early can be, SweetWater Festive Ale could be released on the 4th of July and I’d be okay with that.