Whether the date is divine or not, the traditions surrounding the holidays—gift giving, feasting and, yes, beer drinking—has evolved into the celebrations of Christmas. Which is why I say Christmas beer is not a style, it’s a tradition. It needn’t be spicy or strong, sweet or dark; it need only be special, a gift to be shared in the spirit of the holiday with family and friends.
Everyone has a favorite craft beer of the season. Here are 6 that are jingling my bells this year:
1. Our Special Ale Christmas Ale, Anchor Brewing | San Francisco, CA
Their Special Ale is the granddaddy of Christmas beer, and in my opinion the craft beer that reignited America’s passion for holiday ales. Famously flavored with a secret mix of spices that changes each year, this dark ale’s body is enhanced with delicious fruit-like malts.
2. Mad Elf, Troegs Brewing Co. | Hershey, PA
Mad Elf is an East Coast cult favorite that annually sells out, and at 11 percent alcohol content, gives everyone a nice, shiny red nose. But it’s not all about strength. This flavorful Belgian-style ale is flavored with cherries and honey, and its distinctive yeast strain provides a tingly snap to the palate.
3. Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Co. | Cleveland, OH
The Midwest version of Mad Elf, this honey ale draws raves from similarly impassioned fans who count down the days till its annual release. Though it’s considerably lighter (7.5 percent ABV) than the Elf, it has a nice, spicy kick thanks to the addition of fresh ginger and cinnamon.
4. Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. | Chico, CA
This beer continues to dazzle the hophead in me, even in an age of double and triple IPAs. The aroma of its Cascade and Centennial hops just explodes from a billowing head above its copper-colored body. It’s as bright and fresh as a decorated tree on Christmas Eve. Highly recommended by ME!!
5. 2XMAS, Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, NY
Southern Tier’s holiday ale is made in the tradition of Sweden glögg. Though it’s brewed with figs, orange peel and spices, it’s not one of those over-bearing Red Zinger-like tea mixes. Its body is rich and creamy, not unlike the brewery’s highly-regarded autumn seasonal, Pumking.
6. Santa’s Private Reserve Ale, Rogue Ales | Newport, OR
This beer always strikes me as an unusual ale for the holidays, and not just because its so distinctively hoppy. It’s the label’s raised clenched fist that throws me – a very un-Santa-like pose.
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So Enjoy these and other beers this holiday season and as always their available at your local Consumers Beverages location. Visit our website at www.consumersbeverages.com for any information you might need.
Cheers and Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!
Certified Beer Server and Das Haus Brauer