I'm throwing a Christmas party next weekend and most of the people enjoy sampling good beers. As one who always enjoys that too, I was wondering if people had any suggestions for good holiday brews or unique seasonal beers that might be something different than, say Sam Adams Winter Lager or whatever...
OT: Poll... Holidaytime Brews
Even though it's made in Ohio, their Christmas Ale is outstanding, and it's 7.5% alcohol by volume, so that's a plus.
I find most Christmas specialty beers to be overspiced and gross. Great Lakes' version is good (all their stuff is awesome, actually). It can be a little hard to find in Michigan though; they don't make very much of it.
spices are gross. I love that Bells Christmas Ale. More malt than hops.
that's just wrong.
Absolutely this. Probably one of the top 3 beers I've ever had, regardless of season.
Bell's Christmas Ale
Goose Island Mild Winter
Samuel Smith Winter Welcome (import from England)
These are all very good and do a great job of being sampled at a holiday party.
Oh man, it's not holiday-themed or anything, but I've always loved having Imperial Stouts in the winter...Bell's Expedition Stout, Victory Storm King and Great Divide's Yeti are some of my favorites...all are somewhere between 15-20% alcohol, so they're sipping beers, the flavors are unreal...
However, I'm in Puerto Rico right now so all I drink are spring/summer beers... specially wheat beers. Stronger ales and such are too "warming" for the local weather.
The Rogue Shakespeare Stout is another tasty one for the winter. Not quite an imperial stout, but damn is it good on a cold night (or day, if that's your thing).
In addition to the Christmas beers already listed (Goose Island actually makes a Christmas beer too), there's also the venerable Anchor Christmas (actually called "Our Special Ale" or something like that), and some excellent Belgian ones -- St Bernardus Christmas, Delirium Noel, etc.
Also, definitely get a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Noel de Calabaza
Seconded re: Delirium Noel. I start snatching those up as soon as I see 'em hit the shelves. That stuff is tasty. And powerful. And powerfully tasty.
Didn't know St B. made a Christmas ale.... definitely gotta check that out! Their ABT 12 is probably my fave Belgian.
Bell's Two Hearted
Bell's Two Hearted
Bell's Two Hearted
Not a "Christmas beer," but oboy is it good.
Deschutes Brewery has Mirror Mirror, their double batched Mirror Pond Pale Ale. It's technically a barley wine, since they age some of it in oak barrels.
It is just tits.
I'm enjoying a 6 pack of Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve #9 - The Imperial Pumpkin Stout. Good luck getting it outside of Austin/San Antonio/Houston. They only made 1,500 6-packs and about 40 kegs. That's TINY compared to what most craft brews normally are released at.
How did you get some?
I went looking but nothing.
Not sure which of these you can get in your area...
Rogue - Santa's Private Reserve
Deschutes - Jubelale
Anchor Steam - Christmas Ale
Anderson Valley - Winter Solstice
Widmer - Brrr!
Bridgeport - Ebenezer Ale
Drawing a blank on some of the others I've tried out here. Of those, the Rogue is my favorite. I hope you can find it.
is very tastey
IDK, Ask Carlos Dunlap or Kevin Grady.
Two suggestions that are amazing
Not a Christmas Beer, but a seasonal Dogfishead Chicory Stout is great
Deliriun Noel- Belgium style tastey
The Chicory Stout is the first thing that came to mind. Haven't found it yet this season, but I'm on the lookout.
Not sure what type of beer you prefer or your guest prefer but if you like hops then i would go with Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale (the one mentioned before 2009)or Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap. Both are full of hops, but have a nice flavor to them.
If you are like me and like malts then i would go with Atwater Block Winter Bock. It is not a true bock, IMO, but is simply amazing. Another suggestion is Goose Island Christmas Ale, which has a nice blend of hops and malts.
Only problem with these is the cost, none are that expensive but i would estimate they are between $8-$13 for a six pack (not sure on Michigan taxes on beer.
Enjoy whatever you get!
but this off season (and winter) i think straight burbon is going to be my drink of choice. i've been favoring the boulliet lately but am looking to find something new. anyone got some new one's i can try other than the standard woodfords, beam, and makers?
For the burbon (sic) stricken amongst us, there's some good ones, but I'm going to recommend the Old Forrester Birthday Bourbon for 09. They've done a solid by us, this year having a fruity nose like a muthafucka and a body like Joan Holloway.
Old Rip Van Winkle is an old standby that hasn't disappointed.
And to you under-agers and economical men with a beach volleyball court in your front yard-- Evan Williams tastes quite similar to Jack with about $12 less per 1.75 (Colorado prices). That'll do the trick, IME.
I've yet to find a Christmas beer I particularly enjoy. Bell's Christmas and Sparkling Celebration Ales are both pretty bad, to name the first couple that come to mind. After the awesomeness that is the Halloween/Thanksgiving pumpkin ale season, Christmas is just a disappointment of spicy, busy beers.
The Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is usually a decent holiday option. That said, like Bando above, I don't normally get excited about winter seasonals.
If you are near the border (and like paying insane Canadian beer prices) you might consider Upper Canada Dark Ale (a bargain here at $30 per case)...if near Toronto or a high end LCBO in Windsor look for Tankhouse Coffee Porter ($44 CAD per case)...both would be seasonally appropriate.
Lots of great brews mentioned, including a few I still need to get my hands on and a couple I've never heard of (so thanks for the mentions!).
Another good one is Founders Breakfast Stout (Grand Rapids brewer).
SWEEEEEET THREEAD DUDDDDDE
If you get up to TC or Petoskey over the Holidays, you
must try Short's Brewery in Bellaire.
They have some great brews in-house. Winter wheat is great.
As mentioned above, the Bell's Christmas and Goose Island
mild winter are very good, as well.