It’s the most seasonal time of the year! That’s right, the winter holidays are here and with them come the Christmas beers. Now, I know what you’re thinking but a Christmas beer doesn’t need to be spicy or strong, dark or sweet; it only needs to be special to you and shared in the spirit of the holiday with loved ones.
The tradition of brewing special beers for this time of year draws on a number of deeper traditions. For example, the Scandinavian countries have, perhaps, the strongest claim in this regard. The Vikings enjoyed a strong, malty beer during their Jul—or Yule—celebrations: their December 21st festivities involved them ‘drinking Jul,’ with drafts offered up to Odin, Frey and the other Norse gods.
As you’ve got lists to be checking and gifts to be wrapping, we’ve decided to share a list of some of our favorite Christmas beers to help you relax after a day of hearty giving!
Sierra Nevada Celebration
This beer continues to dazzle the hopheads, even in an age of double and triple IPAs. The aroma of its Cascade and Centennial hops explode from a billowing head above its copper-colored body. It’s as bright and fresh as a decorated tree on Christmas Eve.
Anchor Christmas Ale
Marrying a profound respect for tradition with the restless spirit of experimentation and innovation, Anchor has been producing theirChristmas Ale (sometimes also labeled “Our Special Ale”) since 1975. The recipe of this winter warmer changes every year but it’s always a dark brown ale with added spices.
Prairie Christmas Bomb
The thick, creamy, spiced stout — now in its third annual release, playing off of the original Prairie Bomb! — adds a blast of cinnamon to the original recipe’s coffee, ancho chilies, vanilla, and cacao nibs. This seasonal beer promises to take your taste buds on a decadent journey.
Saint Arnold Christmas Ale
A rich copper-colored, hearty ale perfect for the holiday season delights with a malty sweetness and spicy hop character. The generous use of five different malts is responsible for the full flavor and high alcohol level of this beer at 7% abv.
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale offers a spicy, mint-like flavor profile exuding the tastes of warming alcohol, fermented molasses, apricots, licorice and marzipan that are highlighted by the perfect balance of brewing sugars.This brew is the perfect companion to enjoy a (cold?) winter evening, with or without the company of your friends.
If you didn’t know, Stella Artois was originally a Christmas beer! Sebastian Artois wanted to give the people of Leuven a Christmas gift in the form of a special batch of beer. And so, Stella Artois came to be. Marked with the name Stella and a star on the bottle, in honor of the holiday, it is meant as a reminder for all to see.
Shiner Holiday Cheer
This old-world dunkelweizen is brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The malty flavors of this dark wheat ale are enhanced through the use of malted barley and wheat. The Kräusening process ensures a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all the more satisfying. (Kräusening is a traditional German method for carbonating beers without using sugars or other adjuncts.)