By Bryce Eddings, About.com Guide
Winter and the holiday season see a lot of really good, small production seasonal brews in the form of Christmas beers and winter warmers. Christmas beers are often malty and complex although there are no rules for how they should be brewed. Some are made with fruit or spice and some rely on artful malt or hops combination for wonderful complexity. The winter warmers are similar though they are rarely made with any adjuncts. Both typically contain more than usual alcohol and are usually available from November to February.
And so, in no particular order, here are my Christmas and winter beer selections.
The king of Christmas beers, Samichlaus is the highlight of the holiday season for many beer enthusiasts. It is a rich, aged doppelbock brewed at the Austrian brewery Schloss Eggenberg.
2. Samuel Adams Winter Classics
This mix pack contains a variety of beers. This makes it a nice way to try some unusual beer for beer lovers who are just discovering craft beer. Though it can change from year to year the mix pack often contains Boston Lager, Old Fezziwig Ale, Winter Lager, Holiday Porter, Black Lager, and Cranberry Lambic.
3. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
How do you say Merry Christmas to a hop-head? With a six pack of Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada. Besides have a pretty significant bitterness at 62 IBUs, this beer is also dry hopped which raises the hops in the aroma and flavor.
4. Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome is a traditional winter warmer and in many ways has served as the modern benchmark for the style. It is big in flavor and alcohol. Though maltiness dominates it does have a good bit of balancing hops as well as hints of apples and caramel.
5. Odell Brewing Co. Isolation Ale
Odell Brewing brews Isolation Ale as their winter seasonal. This beer is packed with hops character without a lot of the bitterness. It’s a bit unusual as a wintertime beer in that it does not carry the huge, dark malt flavors of many of the others.
To read this full article, check out: Top 10 Ten Winter and Holiday Beer Recommendations
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