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Top Ten Christmas/Winter Beers

Sierra Nevada Celebration
Beer Review

1. Sierra Nevada Celebration - The long, cold nights of winter are a little brighter with Celebration Ale. Wonderfully robust and rich, Celebration Ale is dry-hopped for a lively, intense aroma. Brewed especially for the holidays, it is perfect for a festive gathering or for a quiet evening at home.  Review - Pours copper with a big, rocky off-white head. Aroma of grapefruit and pine hops, backed by caramel malts and brown sugar. The taste has a big bite of pine and grapefruit hop flavors, balanced nicely by sweet fruit and caramel malts. Medium-bodied with average carbonation and a dry, biting finish. Delicious and biting without being overwhelming.

2. Mad Elf Ale - Troegs Brewing - The Mad Elf, a cheerful creation to warm your heart and enlighten your tongue. The combination of Cherries, Honey, and Chocolate Malts delivers gentle fruits and subtle spices. Fermented and aged with a unique yeast, this ruby red beer has significant warming strength that underlies the pleasant character of this intriguing yet delicious Ale. The Mad Elf, a jolly and delicious beer for the Holidays.


3. Samichlaus  is one of the strongest beers in the world, at 14% alcohol by volume. The name means Santa Claus in Swiss German. It was originally brewed by the Hürlimann Brewery in Zürich and now is brewed by Schloss Eggenberg. This beer is only brewed once a year, on December 6 (which is the day of Saint Nicholas), which makes it a relatively rare brew. It is in the style of a Bavarian bock, and is fermented slowly over ten months so there is very little sugar left in the final beer. 

4. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - This brew is Brooklyn Brewery's  rendition of the Imperial Stout style.  What is Imperial Stout?  In the 18th century, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, asked for stout to be sent to her from England. Fearful of spoilage on the long voyage to the Baltic ports, the English brewers made the beer strong, and added more hops as a natural preservative. It arrived in perfect condition, and became known as Russian Imperial Stout, the toast of the Russian aristocracy. We use three mashes to brew each batch of this beer, achieving a luscious deep dark chocolate flavor through a blend of specially roasted malts.

5. Our Special Ale - Anchor Brewing  - Every year since 1975 the brewers at Anchor have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Review: It is a very nicely balanced beer from "Anchor" There is a nice complex malt backbone to stand up to the hops in this beer. It was rather refreshing. The mouth feel is slightly coating and astringent. The finish is bitter, but bittersweet and craving for more.

6. Great Divide Hibernation Ale - Great Divide  cellars Hibernation until late October, when it reaches the peak of perfection. This lengthy aging process gives Hibernation its revered malty richness, complex hop profile and hearty warming character, which is perfect right out of the bottle or cellared for longer periods of time. Hibernation is a lively treat that really beats the winter chill. This scrumptious, collectible, and imminently cellarable ale is only available for six weeks each year, from November 1 to December 15. 

7. Santa's Private Reserve - Rogue's annual holiday offering, Santa's Private Reserve, is a variation of the classic Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops--including Chinook, and Centennial, and a mystery hop called Rudolph by head brewer John "more hops" Maier!This holiday elixir is brewed with two-row Harrington, Klages and Munich malts, along with Hugh Baird 30-37, Carastan 13-17, and Crystal 70-80 malts, plus free range coastal water and John's proprietary top-fermenting Pacman yeast.
8. Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome - This holiday brew is an amber-colored winter warmer that relies heavily on the rich quality of English pale malt. While its strength, at about 6 percent ABV, fits the bill for an old ale, its light color is a bit unusual for the style. It lacks the dark malt character of some of the others, but makes up for it with a clean, rich, malty backbone and the signature complexity found in all of Samuel Smith's brews. Young's Winter Warmer is a reddish-brown seasonal that measures just 5 percent ABV. It has some dark fruit esters and a malty chocolate aroma. It is exceptionally smooth. 

9. Anderson Valley Winter Solstice - From the first sip of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale , your senses will be aroused with the vision of a glowing fire, warming the hearth and home, as gently drifting snow flakes silently blanket the trees outside. Each lingering sip will gently warm your soul with thoughts of family and friends, gathering around the table for the feast. Luscious, creamy, smooth, and warming, this medium bodied ale is brewed with Caramel and crystal malts to give it just a hint of sweetness, then paired with our private blend of holiday spice. Winter Solstice Ale is great alone or as an accompaniment to any meal, and it has been known to liven and spice up nearly any social event.

10. Sweetwater Festive Ale - A full-bodied, high-octane brew capped off with our use of cinnamon and mace. This beer will warm you all the way to your bones. Brewed only one day a year for the holiday season.


Other Christmas and Winter Beers

Brewed in North America
Abita Christmas Ale - Louisiana
Alaskan Winter Ale - Alaska
Anchor “Our Special Ale” - California
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice - California
August Schell Snowstorm - Minnesota
Avery Brewing Old Jubilation Ale - Colorado
Berghoff Red Bock
Berkshire Brewing Cabin Fever Ale - Massachusetts
Bert Grant’s Deep Powder Ale - Washington
Blue Ridge Snowball’s Chance Winter Ale - Maryland
Boulder Never Summer Ale - Colorado
Boulevard Nutcracker Ale - Missouri
Breckenridge Christmas Ale - Colorado
BridgePort Ebenezer Ale - Oregon
Bristol Brewing No. 23 Barleywine - Colorado
Bristol Brewing Winter Warlock Oatmeal Stout - Colorado
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - New York
Butte Creek Cranberry Christmas Ale - California
Butte Creek Winter Ale - California
Capital Winter Skol - Wisconsin
Cascade Lakes Santa’s Little Helper - Oregon
Concord Brewing Northwoods Ale - Massachusetts
Coors Winterfest - Colorado
Crooked River Yuletide Ale - Ohio
Deschutes Jubelale - Oregon
Dominion Winter Brew - Virginia
Fish Brewing Winterfish - Washington
Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve - New Jersey
Full Sail Wassail - Oregon
Geary’s Hampshire Ale - Maine
Golden Valley Brewery Tannen Bomb - Oregon
Goose Island Christmas Ale - Chicago
Great Divide Hibernation Ale - Colorado
Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Ohio
Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale - Maine
Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws - Oregon
Hales Ales Wee Heavy Winter Ale - Washington
Harpoon Winter Warmer - Massachusetts
(Cave Aged) Hennepin - New York
Hebrew Jewbelation- California
Highland Brewing Cold Mountain Winter Ale - North Carolina
Hoppy Claus Holiday Ale _ California
Humboldt Winter Nectar - California
Ipswich Winter Ale - Masschusetts
Kemper Winter Brau - Washington
Lagunitas Solstice Lagunator - California
Left Hand Snow Bound
Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice - Wisconsin
Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager - Wisconsin
Leavenworth Snowblind Winter Warmer - Washington
Long Trail Hibernator - Vermont
Lost Coast Winterbrau Holiday Ale - California
MacTarnahan’s Mac Frost Winter Ale - Oregon
Magic Hat Feast of Fools - Vermont
Marin Brewing Hoppy Holidaze Ale - California
Maritime Pacific Jolly Roger Winter Ale - Washington
Mendocino Yuletide Porter - California
Moylan’s White Christmas - California
New Belgium 2³ Below - Colorado
New Belgium Frambozen - Colorado
Odell Brewing Isolation Ale - Colorado
Otter Creek Double Decker Olde English Holiday Ale - Vermont
Pelican Pub & Brewing Stormwatcher's Winterfest - Oregon
Paper City Winter Lager - Massachusetts
Penn Brewing St. Nicholas Bock Beer - Pennsylvania
Pete’s Winter Brew - Texas
Pyramid Snow Cap - Washington
Redhook Winterhook - Washington
Rio Grande Bock Holiday - New Mexico
Rock Art Cream Bock - Vermont
Rockies Brewing Igloo - Colorado
Rogue-Santa’s Private Reserve - Oregon
Rogue-Yellow Snow - Oregon
Saint Arnold Christmas Ale - Texas
Saint Arnold Winter Stout - Texas
Samual Adams Holiday Porter - Massachusetts
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig - Massachusetts
Samuel Adams Winter Lager - Massachusetts
Saxer Jack Frost - Oregon
Schell Snowstorm - Minnesota
Schlafly Winter ESB - Missori
Shiner Winter Ale - Texas
Shipyard-Longfellow’s Winter Ale - Maine
Shipyard - Prelude
Shipyard-Winter Ale - Maine
Sierra Nevada Celebration - California
Silver City Winterbock - Washington
Sprecher Winter Brew - Wisconsin
Stoudt’s Holiday Reserve - Pennsylvania
Summit Winter Ale - Minnesota
Sweetwater Festive Ale - Georgia
Three Floyds Alpha Klas - Indiana
Troegs Mad Elf - Pennsylvania
Troegs Oatmeal Stout - Pennsylvania
Twisted Pine Imperial Porter - Colorado
Wasatch Christmas Ale - Utah
Weeping Radish Christmas Double Bock - North Carolina
Widmer Winternacht - Oregon
Weyerbacher Winter Ale - Pennsylvania
Wild Goose Snow Goose - Maryland
Wisconsin Brewing Cranberry Ale - Wisconsin
Woodstock Ichabod Crane Holiday Beer - New York

Imported into North America

Aas Jubel - Norway
Blaugies -La Moneuse Special Winter - Belgium
Camerons Christmas Ale - England
Corsendonk Christmas Ale - Belgium
Delerium Noel - Belgium
De Dolle Winter Nacht - Belgium
De Ranke Pere Noel - Belgium
Fantome de Noel - Belgium
Fantome Hiver - Belgium
Fuller’s Old Winter Ale - England
Fuller’s Vintage Ale - England
Gale’s Christmas Ale - England
Gouden Carolus Christmas - Belgium
Harvey’s Christmas Ale - England
Jenlain Biere de Noël - France
Kerkom Winterkoninkske - Belgium
La Choulette Noël - France
Mahr’s Christmas Bock - Germany
Petrus Winter Beer - Belgium
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt Holiday Porter - England
Ridgeway Warm Welcome Nut Browned Ale - England
Ridgeway Very Bad Elf - England
Ridgeway Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout - England
Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf - England
Rudolph’s Revenge - England
St. Peter’s Winter - England
Samichlaus - Austria
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome - England
Scaldis Noel - Belgium
St. Feullien Christmas Beer - Belgium
Wintertraum - Germany
Young’s Winter Warmer - England


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