It’s no secret that the beer game here in Western New York is strong, but, during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving and Black Friday to Christmas, our fearless local brewers seem to save their best for the final months of the year, and pull out all the stops to celebrate the season. And it couldn’t come at a better time, because we could all use a festive brew. Or six.
How does a fruit cake gose sound? Figgy Pudding Belgian Ale? Or high octane barrel aged imperial stouts? Maybe a tiramisu stout or cranberry pilsner better strikes your fancy? Chances are whatever you’re in the mood for to give 2021 a proper sendoff over these next few weeks, you’ll find something on this list.
1. Christmas at Tiffany’s Spice Beer, Rusty Nickel Brewing
Designed as Rusty Nickel’s seasonal winter/Christmas beer (6.5% ABV), it is dark amber in color and slightly sweet with flavors added like cinnamon and bitter orange peel to remind you of this festive time of year.
2. Bourbon Barrel Awesome Jenkins, Thin Man Brewery
This batch of Bourbon Barrel Awesome Jenkins Imperial Stout was aged in Basil Hayden barrels for 14 months to create notes of cocoa, oak and caramel. This one is a heavy hitter that clocks in at 14.88% ABV.
3. Tiramisu Stout, Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing
A sweet, chewy dessert beer for the winter season, Five & 20’s Tiramisu Stout features notes of baker’s chocolate, bread crust, coffee, vanilla and malt. It can be found at the brewery and at other choice beer retailers, bars, and restaurants in the Western New York and Erie, Pennsylvania areas.
4. Frosty the IPA, Hamburg Brewing
Frosty the IPA was a jolly hoppy brew. With a two row base, some white wheat malt, and a juiced up hop review. Frosty the IPA is a fairytale, they say. He was made of wort, but the yeast all know how he came to life one day. There must have been some magic in those shiny tanks we found, for when he came out, the brewers danced around.
5. Yule Shoot Your Rye Out Spiced Winter Ale, Hamburg Brewing
This bready rye ale is spiced with ginger and spirit for the holidays. A glass of this seasonal classic will help you unwind.
6. Gingerbread Cookie Brown Ale, Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
Pearl Street’s annual holiday seasonal treat is an English brown ale brewed with ginger, allspice, cloves, and aged on vanilla beans that comes in at 6.2%.
7. Alpaca Sweater, Community Beer Works
Need a winter warm up? Look for Alpaca Sweater Spiced Porter, described by CBW as “rich with chocolate and roasted malt character plus an addition of Vietnamese cinnamon and ginger for a perfectly spiced holiday treat.”
8. Spruce Springsteen, Community Beer Works
Continuing their Spruce series, Spruce Springsteen is brewed with “heaps of oats, wheat, and classic American Chinook and Columbus hops for a full bodied, piney & citrusy trip down memory lane. This boss of a beer is aged on black spruce tips, reminiscent of drinking your favorite ipa while searching for that perfect Christmas tree.”
9. 12 Gates of Christmas Beers, 12 Gates Brewing
If you don’t know what the 12 Gates of Christmas is all about, it’s 12 straight days of small batch releases at 12 Gates in celebration of the Christmas season. This year, you’ll find such beers as
Banana Cream Pie Hefeweizen, It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time Sour, Tiny Tim DIPA, and Top Shelf Where Mama Hides The Gingerbread.
10. Sleigh Rider Ale, Flying Bison Brewing
Flying Bison understood the assignment their Sleigh Rider Ale, at 6.3% ABV its a golden ale brewed with coffee, chocolate, and vanilla.
11. Holiday Variety Pack, Ellicottville Brewing Company
EBC describes their Holiday Variety Pack perfectly – a ‘delectable dessert-style party pack.’ This mixed 12-pack features four festive brews – Sugar Cookie Pastry Ale which features notes of vanilla, almond and cookies, Salted Caramel Coffee Ale, Raspberry Truffle Porte, and Lloyd’s Christmas Ginger & Fig.
12. Figgy Pudding Belgian Ale, New York Beer Project
This New York Beer Project holiday brew is a traditional Belgian Dubbel Ale that’s been aged on 75lbs. of a combination of Mission figs, jumbo Thompson raisins, Deglet Noor dates, and 150 vanilla beans. It features sweet notes of dark fruit and vanilla.
13. Kringle Juice, Big Ditch Brewing
Kringle Juice is supposed to replace milk and cookies for the big man, assuming he loves to settle in with a juicy IPA. “Kringle Juice features an initial blast of orange and tangerine in the aroma that blends with flavors of pear and kiwi over a silky smooth mouthfeel. ABV: 7.0%
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.