For many folks December means Christmas carols, decking the halls, roasting chestnuts, and opening presents. For others, December means wonderful annual releases from our favorite craft breweries that will assist us in getting through some of those agonizing family Christmas parties (“Why are you still single?” “How is school going?” “Did you get a REAL job yet?”). Today we chronicle the best beers that will get you through each potentially awkward course this Yuletide season.
Arrival: Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Come out the gate this Christmas with a beer that will wake your senses up. Great Lakes Brewing annually releases their spiced Christmas ale just for such occasion. With notes of fruit, ginger, and a slight bitter hop bite to round it out, this eclectic array of flavors is sure to put you in a bubbly mood upon arrival. Speaking of bubbly, the fizzy consistency of this beer gives it a lively texture that is perfect for feeling festive (the 8% ABV doesn’t hurt either).
Appetizers: Southern Tier 2Xmas
Named for the style in which it’s brewed, Southern Tier Brewing’s 2Xmas is a spiced double ale perfect for those small bites and hors d’oeuvres this Christmas. With it’s medium body and notes of fig, orange peel, and cinnamon, pairing this beer with shrimp cocktails and mini quiches (if you’re lucky) is a must.
Dinner: Anchor Christmas Ale
This beer is a necessity for every Christmas. A tradition 43 years strong, Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale is the perfect beer for every Yuletide season. It’s combination of cacao, toffee, roasted nuts, and secret malts give this winter warmer a rich yet subtle taste. Couple that flavor lineup with its smooth velvety texture, and this beer will be perfect to enjoy with any holiday roast.
Dessert: Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper
The darkest beer on our list, Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little helper is a smooth Russian imperial stout. With notes of dark cocoa, roasted coffee, and sweet crystal malt, this beer deserves to be sipped by a fire in front of a Christmas movie while enjoying a plate of dangerously delicious sugar cookies. If you dunk those cookies in this beer, we won’t judge you.
Party Time: Troegs Mad Elf
If you’re still awake at this point, it’s time to blow the roof off the joint. Featuring a killer 11% ABV, Troegs Independent Brewing’s Mad Elf is sure to make you slip on your dancing shoes at the end of the night turning you into the perfect party guest. This Belgian style ale has notes of chocolate, honey, peppercorn, and most importantly cherries. The cherries give Mad Elf its uniquely festive ruby red color that could only remind one of ribbons sitting pretty on those holiday presents.