More of a Gift Than a Style

While perusing beer aisles recently, you probably noticed a new set of beers with words like Holiday, Christmas, or Winter printed on the label and you logically started wondering, “What the heck does that mean?” Well, the long and short of it is outside of accurately describing when the beers are available in the market, these descriptive words don’t really tell you what it will taste like.

There’s always some variation within beer styles, but there’s generally a distinctive taste profile that separates one style from the next. An IPA from any brewery, for example, will always have a hoppy, bitter taste that could never be mistaken for, say, a Wheat beer. This is not the case with anything carrying the Holiday, Christmas, or Winter moniker. Unlike most beer styles, these beers were made to be released during the same season but not necessarily to taste the same.

Today, a majority of brewers tend to favor a darker ale with added spices for their winter seasonal but others are making fruit beers, or wheat beers, or ESBs, or any number of styles. So perhaps the only way to define the Holiday/Christmas/Winter style is, as Don Russell put it in All About Beer Magazine, “a beer that was brewed as a gift.”

So with that in mind, we present to you a wide variety of holiday “gifts” that will make you the most welcomed guest at any party.

The following list includes our collection of Winter Beers for the State of Ohio. To see our Kentucky offerings, click here.

21st AmendmentFireside Chat 

FDR’s famous fireside chats during The Depression were equal-parts swift kick in the pants and warm embracing hug. 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat is brewed like a classic, warming Strong Ale but with a subtle blend of hand-selected spice for just the right amount of festive flair. Look for this beer on tap and in cans at bars and restaurants throughout Ohio and in six-pack cans wherever fine craft beer is sold.

AnchorChristmas Ale 

You may think you’ve had this beer before but you’d be wrong (well, unless you’ve already had it this year, in which case then you’re probably right). Anchor does indeed release a Christmas Ale every year and yes, it always has a Christmas tree on the label but if you look closely you notice it’s a different tree every year. Things are different inside the bottle as well, as Anchor uses a new top secret recipe each year. We can’t tell you much about it, but trust us: you’ll definitely want to make room for some in your fridge.

Anderson ValleyWinter Solstice 

Winter Solstice is Anderson Valley’s take on the classic Winter Warmer style. A deep amber ale with a rich mouthfeel, this beer boasts a creamy finish that is sure to lift the spirits of even the grouchiest Grinch. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.

BrooklynWinter Ale 

With the days getting shorter and trips to the beach a distant, wonderful memory, we need a beer that will get us through a blustery Ohio winter. Brooklyn has just the thing! Based on the satisfying malty ales of Scotland (a place that practically invented blustery winters), Winter Ale will definitely have you looking on the brighter side of things. Rich, Scottish malts bring deep bready flavors to a beer with a full copper color, round, smooth palate, and brisk hopping that pulls the sweet malts into balance.


Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold winter ale from Oregon-based Deschutes. Jubelale possesses intriguing, layered flavors which unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit, and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. Not only does it taste like the season, but it will fit right in at parties as the deep garnet color pairs perfectly with just about any holiday celebration.


A cold weather game changer of a beer, Embrr (not a typo!) is every bit as rich and tasty as its sonorous name suggests. A true wake up call if you haven’t started packing away your Summer whites yet. Embrr is brewed with a hefty portion of rye and flaked rye to give this smooth porter a rich chocolaty body and hint of spice. This lovingly crafted porter is just the sweater-weather, crunch-through-fallen-leaves, warm-your-toes-by-the-fire kind of beer you need this winter season.

Mt. CarmelWinter Ale 

From the eastside of Cincinnati comes this festive ale that perfectly encapsulates an Ohio winter’s eve. Scents of spruce and ginger immediately calls to mind the holiday season before you even manage to take a sip. Then, on first sip flavors of orange-spiced bread mingle with these delightful aromas to create a beer that perfectly complements a frosty evening whether you’re by the banks of the Ohio River or the shores of Lake Erie.


Best sipped before a roaring fire, Adoration is brewed in the authentic style of a Belgian winter, or Noel beer. Dark, malty, and assertively spiced, this ale is well balanced and not at all hot or fiery. The dark malts give it lush, malty flavors and aromas, complemented by the coriander, orange peel, mace, cardamom, and grains of paradise spices. Be careful with this beer, though. At 10% alcohol by volume, it will have you feeling quite jolly in a hurry so please be sure to sip responsibly.

  RogueSanta’s Private Reserve 

If ever there was a man who deserved a beer after getting home from work it’s probably Santa Claus. Our friends at Rogue were all too happy to oblige the big guy with his very own specialty ale. A double hopped Red Ale, Santa’s Private Reserve is reddish in color (obviously) with a roasty, malty flavor, and a well balanced spruce finish.

SmuttynoseWinter Ale 

Stylistically reminiscent of a Belgian Abbey Double, Smuttynose Winter Ale is a full-bodied, amber beer brewed with a special Trappist ale yeast. It features fruity aromas and flavors balanced by soft, Crystal hops that make it warming, mellow, and pleasantly complex. Unlike most Winter Ales you’ll see out there, Smuttynose’s offering doesn’t contain any spices, yet it will certainly help keep you warm on a cold night.

  Thirsty Dog12 Dogs of Christmas 

One of our hottest sellers, the very name of Thirsty Dog’s winter seasonal sums up the idea of bringing the best together to celebrate. 12 Dogs is filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Really, it’s the perfect wintertime libation, filled with the flavors of the season.

  VictoryWinter Cheers 

Winter weather may drive us indoors but it cannot dampen our spirits when hearth, home, and hops meet in jubilation. Hoisted high in its golden glory, Winter Cheers lives up to its name, fueling festive times and chasing winter’s chill. Glowing and glimmering, frothy and shimmering, Victory’s celebratory wheat ale features luscious fruity and spicy notes, making it a perfect brew to brighten spirits even on the deepest of nights.


The chill of winter sends some running for the mountains, while others prefer to stay cozy in the comfort of the great indoors. Whichever way you enjoy winter, this cider is built to get you through. Aged in premium French and traditional American oak, Winter Chill brings a rich depth of apple flavor with hints of vanilla and oak throughout.

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