Man this year has flown by fast. It’s hard to believe that the best eating holidays are just around the corner and it’s once again time to get serious about planning out the perfect pairings for your holiday table, because nothing pairs better with the holiday season than beer. And we’re not just talking any old beer. Some of the best breweries in the country are making some spectacular holiday-inspired brews, and they’re just the thing you need to elevate your big feast. From traditional classically spiced ales to hop-forward offerings, check out these ten holiday beers to stock up on this season and start planning out this year’s holiday menu.
Sierra Nevada Celebration IPA
Sierra Nevada’s beloved holiday ale boasts roots that date back to 1981 when the American-style IPA was first brewed. For a beer that celebrates tradition, it’s anything but traditional. Made with fresh hops, this holiday ale is citrusy and piney and pairs nicely with some of the main dishes on your holiday table, proving that holiday-inspired beers are not strictly dark and spicy.
ABV: 6.8 percent
Pair it With: With that beautiful and slightly fatty roasted turkey on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
Ninkasi Brewing Company Sleigh’r
Winning at the game of naming beers, Sleigh’r is Oregon-based Ninkasi Brewing Company’s take on a holiday-inspired brew. Anchored with deep toasted flavors from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate malts, this Winter Ale achieves some serious balance with the addition of Nugget hops that add a pleasant bitterness to the crisp ale.
ABV: 7.2 percent
Pair it With: Sweet potatoes or rich chocolate desserts.
Port Brewing Company Santa’s Little Helper
One sip of Port Brewing Company’s Santa’s Little Helper, and you’ll have cheeks that rival Santa’s rosy glow. At 10 percent ABV, this Imperial Stout is a whopper. Brimming with warming boozy notes and a combination of rich dark cocoa and roasty coffee flavors, this holiday brew can be counted on to get the conversation started at the dinner table.
ABV: 10 percent
Pair it With: Sugar cookies and uncomfortable family dinners.
Boulevard Brewing Company Nutcracker Winter Warmer Ale
The Nutcracker Winter Warmer is a hearty beer that can hold up to hearty dishes, like rich mashed potatoes, wild game entrees and thick caramel or chocolate treats. With a spice-forward profile rounded out with floral notes, the Winter Warmer’s big flavors will cut through and complement a good number of dishes on your festive holiday table.
ABV: 7.8 percent
Pair it With: Carmel dishes, rich chocolate dessert, wild game.
Upslope Brewing Company Christmas Ale
Cracking open a can of Upslope’s Christmas Ale is like cracking open a can of Christmas morning, thanks to a pungent spicy aroma created from an Abbey Ale Yeast that wafts up to meet your nose upon opening. A rich malty sweetness and subtle notes of dried fruit balance out the spicy notes in this beer, making it an excellent, highly pairable beer for your dinner table.
ABV: 8.2 percent
Pair it With: Chestnuts on an open fire and Christmas morning activities.
Southern Tier Brewing Company Salted Caramel Stout
If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “this beer is too sweet for me,” Souther Tier’s Salted Caramel Stout might not be for you, and that’s okay, because that means there’s more for me. This Imperial Milk Stout is the epitome of a dessert beer with it’s bold sweet caramel and toffee flavors softened slightly by the addition of Himalayan pink salt. Don’t bother baking this year. Just serve this beer instead.
ABV: 10 percent
Pair it With: A rich figgy pudding or serve it on its own.
Deschutes Brewery Jubelale
It just isn’t the holidays until someone breaks open a six pack of Deschutes Brewery’s Jubelale. This craft beer is synonymous with the holiday season for craft beer lovers, and rightfully so. This winter ale is oozing with warm spice notes, hints of toffee and cocoa and dried fruit crafted from a combination of Bravo, Cascade, Delta, US Tettnang, and East Kent Goldings hops.
ABV: 6.7 percent
Pair it With: A sweet fruit-forward dessert, outdoor winter activities, and that sweet itchy sweater your mom bought you.
Rogue Ales & Spirits Santa’s Private Reserve Ale
Forget the delicate blend of spices and roasted malts, Rogue doesn’t have time for that. Instead, they’ve created the mother of all holiday beers in true Rogue fashion — by brewing up a Belgian Strong Ale that even the real Santa has endorsed. What makes this complex beer a lovely option for the holiday table is the beautiful cherries and raspberries that combine with sweet Belgian candi sugar to create a delicious slightly sweet, slightly tart, full-flavored beer.
ABV: 7.8 percent
Pair it With: Those healthy brussel sprouts that you loaded up with chunks of crispy bacon.
Alaskan Brewing Co. Winter Ale
When it comes to holiday beers, it doesn’t get more classic than Alaskan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale. This beer has been a staple during the holidays since 2000. An English Olde Ale, Alaskan’s Winter Ale is malt-forward and made with spruce tips which gives this traditional holiday ale nice crisp warming flavors to enjoy around the table.
ABV: 6.4 percent
Pair it With: Your main dish if it’s a roasted turkey, lamb or goose, or serve it alongside a warm apple pie.
New Belgium Accumulation
If heavy porters and Imperial Stouts aren’t quite your thing, grab a sixer of New Belgium’s Accumulation White IPA. At 55 IBUs, the strong blend of Centennial, Nugget, Mosaic and Amarillo hops in this bitter IPA is rounded out with a bright and fruity ale yeast and wheat malts. This light-bodied flavorful brew is a great option if your holiday table is filled with hop-heads.
ABV: 6.2 percent
Pair it With: Oysters. Pairing this beer with briny seafood is like squeezing fresh lemon to bring out the full flavors in the dish.