The holidays are full of special foods and drinks. The cookies are beyond indulgent. The hams are delicious. But if you’re anything like us, it’s the holiday beer that really snatches your attention.
You can always go with the nice classics like Anchor Christmas Ale, Saint Bernardus Christmas Ale, or Sierra Nevada Celebration. But if you’re ready to push your luck with the big guy in the red suit a little further, grab for one of these naughty, hoppy, ABV-heavy Christmas beers. Even if you end up with coal in your stocking, at least you’ll get to enjoy some extremely creative holiday-themed suds.
Southern Tier Krampus
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About to knock this back and watch some Christmas flicks and the Tales from the Crypt All through the house episodes along with the Tales from the Darkside Grither episode. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Festivus and all that jazz to everyone! Or just happy Thursday if you're non secular! #krampus #southerntier #imperialhelleslager #christmasbeer #beer #beers #craftbeers #southerntierbrewing #dranking #merrychristmas #happyhannukah #festivus #festivusfortherestofus #talesfromthecrypt #talesfromthedarkside #grither #krampusbeer
This 9 percent American imperial helles lager was made to pay homage to one of the most sinister Christmas-related characters: Krampus. The beer itself isn’t as frightening as the creature of European folklore, as it starts with a sweet biscuit flavor that makes way for subtle pine and citrus notes. All in all, a refreshing respite from the dark beers usually associated with the season.
Oskar Blues Santa’s Beer Breath
The cheeky name of this limited-release beer from Oskar Blues sums up the flavor exactly. Santa likely eats a lot of candy canes. If he also enjoyed a nice stout, this is what his breath would be like. This 12.8 percent, barrel-aged imperial stout starts off with the rich, robust flavor of stout. It’s soon followed by the subtle whiskey flavors that comes from the barrel-aging, with just a hint of chocolate and peppermint.
Prairie Christmas BOMB!
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Prairie Bomb with Extra Cheer! ☃️🍻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Prairie Christmas BOMB! "Prairie has released a whole bunch of Bomb! variations over the years, but Christmas Bomb! is perhaps the variation that we all look forward to the most every year. It has all the chocolate/coffee/vanilla richness and chili spiciness you love about the original Bomb!, but the brewers have thrown in an extra layer of cheer with ample cinnamon added to the recipe. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's rich, satisfying stuff that we could drink all year, but we'll take it when we can get it. And you too can get it now. 13% ABV"
This 13 percent imperial stout is definitely a flavor bomb fit for even the grinchiest of all beer fans. This extremely complicated holiday brew starts with a base of stout that is then aged on espresso beans, vanilla beans, chocolate, and even ancho chiles. The result is an intense dark, chocolatey beer that also has flavors of vanilla, spices, with a subtle hint of heat at the end.
Troegs Mad Elf
It’s not the holidays without a pint of Mad Elf. This aptly named 11-percent ale was brewed with honey and cherries. The result is sweet a red-hued brew with subtle Christmas spices as well as the flavors of tart cherries, honey, and cinnamon. Treat it like holiday gift and open up a bottle (or three) year after year.
Fat Head Pimp My Sleigh
This 10.5 percent Belgian-style Christmas ale is perfectly suited to be paired with rich holiday foods. Made with 6 kinds of malts and 2 types of hops, Pimp My Sleigh is sweet, rich, and malty with hints of cinnamon, anise, various holiday spices, and a well-made fruitcake. It’s the kind of holiday beer that is best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire.
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt
The UK’s Ridgeway Brewing makes a whole line of ‘Bad Elf’ beers especially made for the holiday season. They include Bad Elf, Black Elf, Very Bad Elf, Seriously Bad Elf, Criminally Bad Elf, and Insanely Bad Elf. They also make a beer called Santa’s Butt and this 6 percent English porter is the one that will get your name added to the naughty list. This rich, malty brew is the perfect winter warmer with hints of chocolate, toffee, and toasted holiday biscuits.
This 6.5 percent amber ale is a veritable explosion of Christmas flavors. That’s probably why the folks at Revolution named it Fistmas. It’s hoppy, subtly bitter on your first sip. Then comes the orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and a big hit of ginger with a nice malty backbone.
Boulevard Plaid Habit
Boulevard Plaid Habit begins as a double-mashed Imperial brown ale that is then aged for 18 months in Canadian rye whiskey barrels. What comes out is a 13.9 percent beer with hints of charred oak, toffee, chocolate, and a subtle bit of heat from the rye whiskey. But, with all of that, it’s well-balanced, warming, and the perfect beer for a cold winter’s eve spent looking at neighborhood Christmas lights.