Bartender-Approved Christmas Ales To Keep Your Holidays Merry And Bright

The holidays are the season for giving. And what could be a better gift this year than a nice, tall, pint of seasonally appropriate beer? Sure, a few things come to mind — the recipe for a FDA-approved COVID vaccine, a PS5, etc. — but not many under ten bucks.

As we race towards one of the strangest Christmases on record, you’re probably keen to pair your seasonal chores with a nice beer or two. We’re talking classic Christmas beers so tasty that even Krampus would approve. To find the best options, we reached out to the experts behind the bar for their favorite seasonal brews.

Check their answers below!

Guinness Imperial Gingerbread Stout


Samantha Casuga, head bartender of Dead Rabbit in New York City

Guinness is my go-to. I drink Guinness year-round, but it especially hits during the holidays. To me, whatever drink brings me great memories of being around my friends and family is what I want to be having. Even with its rounded nutty notes, and dark chocolate flavors, I find Guinness endlessly refreshing, and it gives me that creamy mouthfeel I crave when indulging in a holiday treat. Total yum.

If you want to get extra seasonal with it, grab one of the brand’s new Gingerbread Spiced Stouts with complex gingerbread, cinnamon, and coffee flavors.

Prairie Seasick Crocodile

Seth Falvo, bartender at The Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach, Florida

If you’re tired of the same generic Christmas ales and stouts, then Prairie Artisan Ales has exactly what you need in Seasick Crocodile. A sour ale with plenty of cranberries, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg throughout, Seasick Crocodile has all the familiar vibes and flavors of a Christmas beer while still managing to be unique. It’s surprisingly refreshing, given how tart it is, and the sour notes will cut the more aggressive flavors of your favorite holiday dishes quite nicely.

Alaskan Smoked Porter

Fatima Kuras, general manager at 15 East @ Tocqueville in New York City

Alaskan Brewing Smoked Porter is the best Christmas beer. It’s high in alcohol and its dark chocolate flavors remind me of Christmastime.

Bell’s Christmas Ale

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Bell’s Christmas Ale is a favorite, mainly from it being a staple for me in the Midwest. Honey and spice without too much heaviness make this great for pairing with holiday snacks.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Robert Gleim, managing partner of Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar in Pensacola, Florida

Sam Adams Winter Lager. Infused flavors of orange and spices bring out the best in this Amber Lager. This bock is crisp, refreshing, and perfect for the holidays.

Anchor Christmas Ale

Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen in Encino, California

It’s almost a tradition at this point, and maybe this is calling out for a cool, super small production craft beer, but the Anchor Christmas Ale has always delivered. It’s got nice cocoa notes and some baking spices that serve it well. It’s great for a warming sip during the holidays.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Bryce Moltzan, assistant restaurant manager at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in Bloomington. Minnesota

Great Lakes Brewing Co’s Christmas Ale. It is a balanced honeyed ale accented with all the tinsel and decorations that the Christmas baking spices can add.

Writer’s Picks:

Troegs Mad Elf

It’s not the holidays without that ale brewed with honey and cherries. It’s 11 percent ABV and filled with hints of chocolate, sweet cherries, and holiday spices designed to warm you up whether you’re naughty or nice.

Avery Brewing Old Jubilation

This English strong ale is filled with nutty sweetness, rich malts, and subtle spices. This winter warmer has been produced since 1997 and remains a holiday must-have to this day.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

The holidays aren’t complete without this classic Christmas ale. It’s a creamy, smooth, Belgian quadruple, with flavors of caramel, sugar cookies, and baking spices. The perfect addition to any (socially distant) holiday gathering.