If you’re the kind of person that needs a little help getting into the “holiday spirit,” a nice winter warmer served up from a local brewery is just the thing you need. Holiday ales are usually very dark with lots of hoppy, malty flavor and high alcohol content. Some have traces of holiday spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, while others are just plain tasty.
If you’re the kind of person that needs a little help getting into the “holiday spirit,” a nice winter warmer served up from a local brewery is just the thing you need.
Holiday ales are usually very dark with lots of hoppy, malty flavor and high alcohol content. Some have traces of holiday spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, while others are just plain tasty.
All beers reviewed rated on a scale from 1 to 5.
Wow, bring back the Snowplow. Widmer kind of drops the ball here by replacing its venerable milk stout with a new, very boring and far more traditional beer: Brrr. Brrr is far lighter and doesn’t really do it for me. Perhaps the worst indictment is that I drank a PBR right before delving into a Brrr and couldn’t really tell the difference.
This is one of my favorite winter warmers. It is almost a “desert” beer, in that it’s very malty with hints of chocolate. These go down quite smoothly and come highly recommended. Perhaps Snow Cap’s one flaw is a lack of bite, which is due to a slightly lower amount of hops versus malt.
Ebenezer is kind of spicy but actually pretty light for a winter warmer. I consider it to be a palate cleanser that should be quite refreshing when paired with the normal greasy holiday fare. Not the best, but certainly no also-ran.
There is absolutely nothing better than Jubelale on nitro. I panned this beer in a review a couple years ago, but that was probably because I couldn’t stomach Jubelale’s 6.7 percent alcohol content. It’s just a very tasty, hoppy beer that smacks you upside the head and doesn’t bother to say sorry.
Meh. Wassail is like maple syrup in consistency, and I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of sludgy beer. It’s got a great taste for sure, but trying to get through more than a couple of these will leave you with serious gut rot and in need of a long, long nap. Nice holiday spices are at play, so try one and then switch it up.
Celebration Ale is a favorite among my friends, but I’ve never been more than a casual fan. And in a weird trend, the quality gets just slightly worse each year. Still, the beer is relatively light for a winter warmer and plenty refreshing. You can do far worse than Sierra Nevada’s holiday offering.
If Disneyland had a winter warmer, it’d be Kris Kringle. This stuff tastes like the holidays, with plenty of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and lots of malt at play. Still, it’s a bit of a sensory overload. You really do feel like you’re being clubbed over the head while someone screams, “Be cheery, goddammit! It’s Christmas! It’s fucking Christmas!” That said, I still like it.