Logo
Blog
Celebration Brews
PH

Holiday beers that’ll help you toast the season.

Without a doubt, the holiday season is made all the merrier with a pint in hand, and with wintry favorites again making their way to market, there’s no better time to scoop up a bottle or two. With styles ranging from classic Belgian strong ales to recipes that change year to year, the flavors of these festive releases are the ideal match for the decadent foods and overall merriment of the season, and they make perfect gifts for your beer-loving friends. Here are 20 favorites worth checking out.

  1. Affligem Noël
    Opwijk, Belgium, 9% ABV
    Like a kid anxiously anticipating Santa, Belgian beer enthusiasts wait each year for the release of Affligem Noël. Brewed by monks from an abbey that was founded in 1074, this bottle-conditioned strong ale is a flavorful mix of rum-soaked raisins, orange-scented chocolate and Christmas spices. Pleasingly dry with a strong malty backbone, this Flemish dark ale is assertively festive alongside the traditional holiday fare. The 9% alcohol also makes it a good candidate for cellaring, so pick up a few bottles each year and start a new holiday tradition.
  2. Anchor Christmas Ale
    San Francisco, Calif., ABV varies
    For more than three decades, Anchor Brewing has released this top-secret winter warmer to eagerly awaiting fans each November. The recipe changes with every vintage, as does the flavor profile—which has offered everything from Christmas tree to Christmas spice—and although this brew typically hovers around 6% alcohol, it ages gracefully, taking on refined whiskey-like notes after as little as one year.
  3. Avery Old Jubelation
    Boulder, Colo., 8.3% ABV
    Crack open this English strong ale and be rewarded with notes of roasted hazelnuts and a hint of toffee—a warming combo perfectly suited to cooler weather. Plus, its assertively malty backbone and higher ABV make it a great candidate for cellaring.
  4. Boulevard Nutcracker Ale
    Kansas City, Mo., 5.8% ABV
    This mahogany-colored ale offers malty, molasses flavors that are nicely balanced by welcoming cinnamon spice and citrus hop bitterness on the finish. A classic example of the wintertime style.
  5. Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
    Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium, 9.5% ABV
    Originally brewed as a gift for their best customers, this saison’s name translates to best wishes from the brewery. Notes of lemon peel, clove and white pepper along with a secondary bottle fermentation offer loads of depth and complexity.
  6. Deschutes Jubelale
    Bend, Ore., 6.7% ABV
    This venerable holiday seasonal stays true to the classic winter warmer style with crystal malt sweetness, dark fruit flavors and a touch of alcohol on the finish that warms you like a wool blanket.
  7. De Dolle Stille Nacht
    Esen, Belgium, 12% ABV
    Its whimsical label may be what fist catches your eye, but this Belgian strong ale is serious. Notes of dried apricot, honey-roasted pears and creamy malts mingle with a subtle hint of spice. The high ABV can withstand a few years in the cellar, but it’s just as captivating when opened upon its release every December.
  8. De Ranke Père Nöel
    Wevelgem, Belgium, 7% ABV
    Eschewing the notion that Christmas beers should be sticky-sweet, this refreshingly dry ale strikes a crowd-pleasing balance between complex malts and spicy hops. Even friendlier is its larger-format availability—all the way up to the three-liter jeroboam.
  9. Fantôme de Noel
    Soy, Belgium, 10% ABV
    This wintry saison warms you to the core with loads of holiday spices—think coriander, clover and black pepper—and a strong dried fruit presence throughout. Deep and rich with the Belgian style’s trademark tang, this brew comes in at a whopping, yet almost imperceptible, 10-percent ABV.
  10. Full Sail Wassail
    Hood River, Ore., 7% ABV
    This knockout winter warmer has been a brewing tradition for Full Sail for more than two decades and keeps on pleasing with its mix of toasty malts and Pacific Northwest hops.
  11. Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws
    Portland, Ore., 11.5 % ABV
    This bottle-conditioned barleywine combines the English style’s traditional maltiness with a hallmark West Coast hoppiness for a bold yet balanced brew that finishes with a subtle, wildflower honey sweetness. Special-order the 3-liter jeroboam and score the perfect holiday gift for the beer geek in your life.
  12. He’Brew Jewbelation
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y., ABV varies,
    A self-proclaimed “chosen beer,” the tongue-in-cheek Jewbelation series from Shmaltz Brewing is a perennial holiday favorite. Each year they build off of the previous vintage’s recipe, adding one more hop variety and one new malt to the kettle. This year’s 16th-anniversary edition features 16 hops, 16 malts and 16% alcohol. At some point they’ll run out of options, so enjoy it while you can.
  13. New Belgium Frambozen
    Fort Collins, Colo., 6.5% ABV
    Released every Thanksgiving, this malty brown ale is fermented with juice from fresh Pacific Northwest raspberries. It pairs perfectly with everything on the holiday menu, from meaty mains to decadent desserts.
  14. Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
    Newport, Ore., 6% ABV
    A double-hopped version of their St. Rogue Red, this potent sipper from Rogue uses estate-grown barley for rich roasted malt notes that mingle with a piney finish.
  15. Samichlaus
    Vorchdorf, Austria, 14% ABV
    Perhaps the most widely adored holiday beers, Samichlaus is a Bavarian doppelbock brewed each year on December 6 and allowed to slowly ferment before being bottled and released the following year. Sweet notes of raisins, toffee and plums mingle with loads of warming spice.
  16. Scaldis Noël
    Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium, 12% ABV
    Brewed by Brasserie Dubuisson, which has been in operation since the mid-18th century, this holiday is warm and inviting, with flavors of malt, caramel and nuts and a touch of dry spice on the finish. Sip it slightly warmer than fridge-temp to fully allow all of the flavors to shine.
  17. Sierra Nevada Celebration
    Chico, Calif. 6.8% ABV
    For many domestic craft beer enthusiasts, the holidays are signaled by the annual appearance of Sierra Nevada’s Celebration in stores and on taps across the country. A sessionable holiday seasonal, this delicious IPA balances citrusy hop flavors with a roasty-toasty malt finish. Perfect for enjoying alongside a heavy holiday meal of roast turkey and all the trimmings.
  18. St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel
    Le Roeulx, Belgium, 9% ABV
    Aged for several months before its annual holiday release, this strong dark ale offers a smooth, full body and festive flavors of raisins, figs, chocolate and cinnamon. Pair this one with strong cheeses, bread pudding or roasted duck.
  19. Three Floyds Alpha Klaus
    Munster, Ind., 6% ABV
    Nothing says wintertime like an inky black porter with a pillowy white head, and this sensational sipper cloaks you in rich notes of milk chocolate, fresh-brewed coffee and subtle hop bitterness on the finish.
  20. Tröegs Mad Elf
    Harrisburg, Penn., 11% ABV
    This Belgian-style strong ale is festive from first pour with its rich, cranberry-red hue, but it doesn’t stop there, offering notes of sweet, dark fruits mixed with a hint of cocoa. Its high ABV makes it an especially good match for rich holiday meals like maple-glazed ham or a holiday goose.
Categories: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact

Craft Holden's

We love to hear feedback from our valued customers. It's our priority to make sure all your questions are answered. Please get in touch and we will be in contact shortly with you!

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday 7AM – 11PM
Friday – Saturday 7AM– 12AM
Sunday 7AM– 10PM

Email Us

info@craftholdens.com

Call Us

(805) 483.6042

Visit Us

860 South A Street
Oxnard, CA 93030