Seasons Greetings! The holiday season is a time for sharing with family and loved ones and what better way to do that than with a flavorful seasonal brew.
The beer community is rich with offerings of Holiday/Winter Seasonal brews that are sure to delight. Winter Warmers are the beers of choice this time of the year and many breweries throughout the world have a tasty brew to offer. A winter warmer is an ale that is characterized by its big malt presence both in body and flavor. Their color can range from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. And these brews have pronounced alcohol warmth. There are variations on this style of brew, but the two most prominent versions are a traditional and a wassail.
The traditional English style ale is often referred to as an “Old Ale”, with no spices added. A perfect example and a personal favorite is Theakston Brewery’s Old Peculiar. A wassail which is popular among many U.S. microbreweries has added spices, such as, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Another personal favorite is Anderson Valley Brewery’s Winter Solstice Ale.
As the winter season continues its cold embrace and pushes my chilled bones towards a roasting fire, I find myself favoring darker & thicker brews. If you are like me, the winter season is a time for porters and stouts. Theses brews are perfect for the winter time with their dark color and rich complexity of flavors added with the hints of chocolate and caramel. There are many varieties to these brews, too many to continue on in this article, but don’t be thrown off if you have a stout or porter that isn’t to your liking, there are many more to try. My suggested brews:
- Fuller’s London Porter
- Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter
- Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (if you want to be adventurous, try topping off this stout with a Raspberry or Cherry Lambic)
If you are stumped on a holiday gift for a relative, in-law, or friend, a case or bottle of beer can be a great gift. Single 22oz. bottles are a great alternative to a bottle of wine or liquor. Many microbreweries also offer variety packs and these are great, because if allows the person to try three or four different styles. Also many local dispensaries offer the option to purchase individual 12oz. bottle, which is a perfect way to create personalized six pack for that special someone. If you want to stick with a holiday theme, a lot of breweries offer a holiday theme brews. Here are a few choices:
- Mad Elf (Troegs Brewery, Harrisburg, PA)
- Santa’s Private Reserve (Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR)
- Bah Humbug Christmas Ale (Wychwood Brewery, United Kingdom)
- St. Bernaduas Christmas (St. Bernard Brewery, Belgium)
- Scaldis Noel Premium (Scaldis Brewery, Belgium)
Finally, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room is continuing to offer seasonal brews. Now on tap:
Until next time, Happy Holidays! Cheers!