Isn’t it mind blowing how a cold beer can thaw you from within? The Holidays are an excellent excuse to partake in a celebratory warming beverage, and the brews available this time of year are noteworthy. A little extra depth and spices aplenty, holiday beers provide just the right amount of cheer. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites below, some limited, and some that just taste better with the fare this time of year.
West-Flemish Red Brown Ale 6.2% / West-Vlaanderen, Belgium – The duchesse is one of my first beer loves. It’s tart in a slightly fruity, balsamic way, that pairs beautifully savory food. I will drink it year round, but its light bubbles and full body is especially perfect this time of year. Drink it with turkey, pumpkin pie, or a little of both!
Seasonal Brew 7.0% / Asheville, NC – This brewery just started distributing in my home state, but I’ve had a crush on their wild brews from afar for awhile. Their Medora Berry Sour is a combination of sour and bret ales, which means it is seriously sour, but then they add a bunch of blackberries and raspberries and it’s suddenly dynamic. Still super tart, but a perfect way to celebrate the summer’s bounty at your harvest feast.
American Brown Ale 7.2% / Marietta, GA – This is a great food beer. Round and just a little dark, with the hop presence just perceptible enough to provide balance to slight notes of chocolate. It’s very quaffable, but be careful! It’s not as sessionable as it tastes. Pair it with sweet potato casserole.
Saison, 6.0% / Avondale Estates, GA – Wild Heaven has recently upped their can design and this release is no different. The black and white can makes me think of salt and pepper, which is fitting for this spicy saison. It’s tasty on its own, but the clean, dry flavor with significant bubbly texture basically begs for food.
Winter Spiced Ale 7.9% / San Francisco, CA – Fireside Chat is a seasonal release I look forward to every year. It’s an English ale brewed with spices, and the resulting beer is lovely. It’s dark and malty with baking spices on the end of each sip. Warming, but still so drinkable.
Belgian-Style Brown Ale 10% | Placentia, CA –In an effort to make something seasonal and unique, but still delicious, The Bruery created a beer brewed with 17 pounds of yams along with molasses, maple syrup and baking spices. This is the quintessential Thanksgiving beer. Official tasting notes recommend a deep fried turkey and creamy mashed potatoes as a pairing.
Brut des Flandres 11.50% | Belgium – There’s another much-loved beer that claims to the Champagne of beers, but DeuS is truly the special occasion beer. Made using Champagne yeast in Belgium, it looks like Champagne when poured. Don’t fret, it tastes like beer, but a very refined, slightly spiced and fruity beer. Serve it in a wine glass and avoid offending your stuffy aunt for drinking beer at the Thanksgiving table.
American Style IPA 6.8% | Asheville, NC – Sierra Nevada really does no wrong. Celebration Ale is their yearly fresh-hop release, and at this point, it’s an integral part of the holiday season for beer lovers. It’s an intense American IPA, so it’s best when fresh!
Cidre Bouché 6% / Victot-Pontfol, France – Yep, this one is a cider. If you’re a serious beer drinker that is still turning a nose up to cider, it’s time to let go of the syrupy sweet prejudice. This French cider is extremely dry and funky (think Wild Ales), but when paired with rich food, it’s perfectly refreshing. Sour Beer drinkers will dig it, I promise.