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.
But this variety in taste makes the Winter Seasonal release one of the more exciting times on the craft beer calendar! Below, you’ll find the perfect list of stocking stuffers from Winter Warmers, to IPAs, to Red Ales, and everything in between. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
Like FDR’s Depression-era radio addresses which were equal parts kick in the butt and hug, 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat is a subtle twist on the traditional seasonal brew. It’s brewed like a classic, warming Strong Ale but with a subtle blend of hand-selected spices for just the right festive flair.
This is the forty-first annual Christmas Ale from the iconic Anchor Brewing. The Ale’s recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. The tree for 2015 is the Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), better known as the California Christmas Tree. As for the recipe … well, that’s Top Secret.
Winter Solstice is Anderson Valley Brewing Co.’s take on the classic Winter Warmer. Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. 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.
Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold winter ale from Oregon-brewer Deschutes. Intriguing, layered flavors unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. The deep garnet color pairs perfectly with any and all holiday celebrations.
Warm up the holidays with this spiced ale from Ohio brewer Lager Heads! The smooth malty canvas showcases the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and local honey. Not only is this beer big on taste, but at 8% ABV it’s also big on alcohol so please, enjoying responsibly.
This festive ale from Cincinnati brewer Mt. Carmel calls to mind the holiday season with scents of spruce and ginger, mingling with flavors of orange-spiced bread. It perfectly complementing a frosty evening spent before a roaring fire.
This double-hopped Red Ale from Oregon brewer Rogue Ales is appropriately reddish in color with a roasty, malty flavor and a well-balanced spruce finish. We have it on good authority that this is what the big guy is drinking the 364 days of the year he’s not guiding his reindeer on the world’s most epic road trip.
Another offering from the master brewers at Rogue Ales, this IPA is pale golden in color with a hoppy fruity aroma. Big hop flavor up front complemented by medium body and hoppyness mid-palate and finishes with a characteristic, lingering bitterness. This is the one time you can ignore your mom’s advice about avoiding the yellow snow.
This winter classic comes from our friends across the pond at Samuel Smith’s in Yorkshire, England. Honey-amber colored, creamy head of small bubbles, floral aroma, and delicious caramel malt flavor with great finesse, Winter Welcome has a fine hop aroma finish and a fruity note from fermentation in open-topped stone “Yorkshire Squares.”
This Christmas Ale from St. Louis brewer Schlafly is a warming Winter Ale that blends the spices of the season with sweet caramel malt. Orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves are added for spiciness. Honey is used in the fermentation process, raising the ABV to 8% without producing too much heat from the alcohol content.
This holiday Dunkelweizen from Texas brewer Shiner practically unwraps itself with hints of Texas peaches and pecans. Caramelized malts give it a uniquely rich, malt body that’s perfect for the holidays whether it’s spent in the Lonestar State or the Buckeye State.
This Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing is a full-bodied, amber beer brewed with a special Trappist ale yeast. Stylistically reminiscent of a Belgian Abbey Double, it features fruity aromas and flavor, balanced by soft Crystal hops. Warming, mellow, and pleasantly complex, Smuttynose Winter Ale is your perfect cold weather companion.
This regional favorite from Akron-based Thirsty Dog Brewing is filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It’s the perfect libation, filled with flavors of the season.
This full-flavored amber lager from Utah brewer Uinta delivers a complex, toasted malt body and Noble hop character. With honey and caramel undercurrents and vanilla accents this lager is malty with light and hoppy notes that finishes dry. Yard Sale pairs well with earthy mushroom bisque, grilled lamb or pork, and even mussels and clams so plan your holiday meals accordingly.
Winter weather may drive us indoors but cannot dampen our spirits when hearth, home and hops meet in jubilation! Hoisted high in its golden glory, Victory Brewing’s Winter Cheers lives up to its name, fueling festive times and chasing winter’s chill. Glowing and glimmering, frothy and shimmering, this celebratory wheat ale features luscious fruity and spicy notes, making it a perfect brew to brighten spirits even on the deepest of nights.