Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, whatever we call Sunday now, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are all history for 2017. But there is still shopping to do. The best kind of shopping. Holiday beer shopping!
Holiday/Christmas Beers hew to no particular style. They are often darker Winter Warmers in an Americanized take on a British beer. Or it can be a straight up hoppy IPA. Thankfully, this year, these beers have shown up now instead of October like in years past.
Today, I am going to give you a shopping list. Five classics and five newcomers to try.
Anchor Christmas – Anchor Brewing’s Christmas ale is over 40 variations old and the latest is a pure piece of the season. Malty, but still light with just a touch of pine notes. Your first newcomer is a barrel-aged version of the 2016 version aged in whiskey and wine barrels. Sure to be a limited supply so grab one if you see it.
Alaskan Brewing has been around a long time, as has their winter ale. Perfect for a throwback seasonal. Or you could head for a newcomer like Fremont Brewing and their Bonfire Ale to add a little rauchbier to the holiday Yule log. Actual fire or video version acceptable.
Double Mountain Brewery Fa La La La La is a big hoppy red beer from Hood River with white snowflakes on a field of red on the label. For a newcomer, try the Abominable from Hopworks Urban Brewery of Portland. Less hoppy but a little heartier.
A reliable holiday hop bomb is Celebration from Sierra Nevada. This year’s beer tastes really earthy and dank with an even bigger load of hops to my tastebuds. If you prefer unfiltered and just as fresh, Stone Brewing has their latest Enjoy By IPA on shelves. Look for the date 12/25/17 on one side and presents on the other.
My final pairing of old and new is 21st Amendment Brewery and their Roosevelt beer, Fireside Chat. This is a big beer jam-packed with spices. A twelve ounce can is plenty. And speaking of plenty, a 750ml bottle of the latest song beer in the holiday cycle of The Bruery, Ten Lords A Leapin’, is certainly one to share before or after the arrival of a Saint Nick.
Now get out there and find some bottles for people’s stockings or for the Christmas dinner table.
Your BEER OF THE WEEK comes to us from Craftsman Brewing of Pasadena and it is a big, Germanic beer for the season. Doppelweissenbock amps up all the Bock goodness. If that beer is too rare to find, then check out their Acorn Saison that comes out this time of year. Both beers are excellent.
Your HOMEWORK is to check out the options of the old school Beer of the Month Club. You can select U.S. brewery club, go International, or mix both. There is also a new Hop Head club and the eye-catching Rare Beer Club. This is the OG “of the month” and makes a good gift for newbies and those exploring all kinds of beers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.