The winter holidays are a favorite time of year for most people because family and friends come together to share food and drink and spread cheer. In the recent past, wine, toddies, eggnog and spiced cider seemed to be a natural fit, but long ago, people drank winter ale. Today, winter ale has made an astounding comeback, and microbreweries across the country offer their versions of this Old-World classic, often slightly tweaked for the American palate.
Winter beer has been a tradition in Europe for hundreds of years, and it is often referred to as a winter warmer. These beers are actually ales rather than lagers or pilsners, and they tend to be brewed with an abundance of dark, rich malts. Some of these ales include exotic spices while others follow the strict definition of beer by including only the four requisites: water, malt, hops and yeast.
In England, many of the winter ales have a higher alcohol content than standard beer, and they carry a slightly sweet taste designed for family get-togethers. However, American holiday beers are usually made with roasted grains and an abundance of fresh hops. Some of the spices that are used in these varieties include orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger, and they may be crafted with fermentable ingredients other than malt, such as honey or molasses.
We offer a wide range of Holiday beer gifts for those who do not celebrate Christmas. These gifts are carefully packaged in attractive wicker baskets, decorative boxes or reusable tubs, and many include a selection of snacks, such as nuts, popcorn, crackers and cheese. A few of the winter beers we offer are Winter Solstice Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing, Santaís Private Reserve from Rogue Brewing Co. and Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Take care of all your holiday gifts right here at BeerGifts.com.
New Belgium Brewing Company Fort Collins, Co. - Accumulation White IPA
A white beauty of a brew designed for the winter season with new hop varietals and a bit of wheat for a smooth feel. This new brew by New Belgium salutes the snow accumulating in Colorado and the long nights of blizzard white. Medium to light body overall with strong hop aromas and wheat to smooth out the bitter edges.
Odell Brewing Company Fort Collins, CO. - Isolation Ale
There's no better way to finish out the year than to kick back with a glass of Isolation Ale and watch the trees shed their leaves. Brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado, by the Odell Brewing Company, this beer pours into your glass a deep red color and rises to the top with a thick layer of foam. If you enjoy watching your foam disappear, you may appreciate the way this beer's head slowly relaxes to a laced cap and then finally settles into a generous ring that follows the beer to the bottom of the glass. The blend of Nugget, Bonlander, Crystal and Pale hops are dominant in the flavor, but that bitter touch is balanced nicely by just the right blend of caramel malts. While some drinkers crave more aroma than Isolation Ale can deliver, you get a light nose hit of bread and sweet malts with each drink.
Bell's Brewery Kalamazoo, MI - Christmas Ale
Is it time to break out the tinsel and string up the lights? Make your Christmas season merry and bright by loading up on Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery. This is a Scotch Ale that emphasizes premium malts, so you may feel tempted to leave a glass under the tree for Santa. It pours a deep brown with a satisfying head of fluffy foam that slowly reduces to delicate lacing. The aroma is subtle, but you can pick up on the caramel malts and a slight nutty quality if you give it a moment to register. The flavor is bold and bright with tones of brown sugar, toffee, and vanilla. The malts do push the flavor profile in the sweet direction, but you get just enough hops to enjoy a weak spike of bitterness at the end.
Christmas Ale has a creamy texture that goes down smooth, and it delivers a warmth that is perfect for cold winter nights. It works well with a variety of foods, including sweets and roasted meats. Serve it with your best holiday pies and cakes. Bring it to the table for a light weekend lunch. If nothing else, hand it out to your friends and relatives at your holiday parties. This malt-focused beer is destined to put all of your guests in a merry mood.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company Boonville, CA - Winter Solstoce Winter Ale
When winter gets too dark and dreary, grab a bottle of Winter Solstice and call a time out. The Anderson Valley Brewing Company distributes this seasonal ale from September to January each year, and their goal is to deliver such rich mouth feel and intense flavor that you're warmed from within. They do this by combining Liberty and Northern Brewer hops with a blend of Munich, Pale Two-Row, and Crystal malts. The brewers add a few spices and a bit of toffee to deliver a winter flavor that pairs well with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. You can also enjoy this brew by the fireplace with someone special if you just want to forget about the cold weather raging outside your door. Roast some almonds or take the pumpkin pie out of the oven, and pour a glass of Winter Solstice to create a special treat. The satisfying taste of sweet malts with vanilla and fruity undertones will serve as your reward.
Rogue Brewing Co. Newport, OR. - Santa's Private Reserve
Why not go Rogue for the holiday season with Santa's Private Reserve including a double dose of hops both Hops and Barley for double prizes.in flavor. Reddish in color and a roasty well-balanced finish.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Portland, OR - BRRR Seasonal Ale
Balance is key to understanding BRRR Seasonal Ale from the Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. While they turn up the citrus tones with a heap of Cascade and Simcoe hops, they balance out the fruity essence with a blend of bitter Alchemy hops. The malt profile begins with dark chocolate and ends with Carapils, Caramel, and Pale malts, and that rich sweetness is countered by the Alchemy hop blend. Your nose will detect the hops the moment you open the bottle or start to pour the intense red brew into your cup. That blended flavor profile will keep you sipping and picking apart the complex notes for as long as you can stand to relax. Inspired by northwestern hops, this is a red IPA that can compete with some of the best dark winter beers. Get dinner out of the oven. Curl up by a toasty fire. Crack open the BRRR.
Spoetzl Brewery Shiner, TX - Shiner Holiday Cheer
If you don't know what an Old World Dunkelweizen is, pick up a bottle of Shiner Holiday Cheer this winter. While you're at it, pick up a few extra bottles because holiday brews are made for sharing. The Spoetzl Brewery first released this recipe in 2010, and it remains a festive favorite for many merry makers across the country. It pours into your glass dark amber, but you'll see flashes of deep brown and rich red if you pay attention. The aroma announces the presence of peaches and pecans, which are both sourced straight from Texas. Once you raise the glass to your lips, you'll notice the nuts and fruit mixed with an intense burst of caramelized malts. The off-white head doesn't last long, but it's enough to deliver a creamy start to every glass. No wonder this brew won a bronze medal at the 2013 Australian International Beer Awards.
Deschutes Brewery Bend, OR. - Jubelale A Festive Winter Ale
The holiday season gives you many reasons to celebrate, but it also leaves you ready for warmth and relaxation. Jubelale Winter Ale delivers all of that plus more in a single bottle. Of course, once you taste the blend of roasted malts and warm spices, you may want to indulge in more than just one. The goodness starts with a combination of Crystal, Carapils, Extra Special, Pale and Barley malts. Add Cascade, Bravo, Delta, East Kent Goldings and Tettnang hops, and you may consider this winter ale one of the best things to come out of the Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. Start each drinking session with a review of the decorative label, which features artwork by a different artist each year. You can then pour a tall glass and enjoy the intense flavors of toffee, cocoa, and dried fruit. Jubelale Winter Ale is only available from October to December, so find your bottle while it lasts.
Anchor Brewing Company San Francisco, CA - Christmas Ale
Anchor Brewing celebrates 40 years of producing this limited release only from November to mid-January the recipe differs every year. Spreading joy and celebration with the freshness every holiday season brings with the intent to enjoy the Christmas season! Artwork for the label hand drawn by James Stitt.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico, CA - Celebration Ale
Celebrate with holiday fun in mind with this fresh and festive American IPA. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas honoring all the classical elements from Sierra Nevada.
Goose Island Beer Company Chicago, IL - Festivity Ale
Every year, fans of the Goose Island Beer Company anxiously await the release of Festivity Ale. The recipe for this seasonal brown ale changes every year, giving you a new way to toast the holidays and ring in the New Year. If you have something to celebrate at the end of the year, you have a reason to pick up a bottle of Festivity Ale. The aroma and flavor vary from year to year, depending on the choice of hops, malts, fruits and spices included in the most recent recipe. Instead of enjoying a predictable head and expecting the same color as you pour your brew into your favorite glass, you can open the first bottle of the year with anticipation and excitement. You never know whether your beer will lead with the hops or allow malts to become the star, but you can expect a smooth, drinkable beer that goes well with all types of holiday celebrations.
Full Sail Brewing Company Hood River, OR. - Wassail Winter Ale
Rich and deep mahogany in color this full body ale is a holiday treat! This limited Edition Ale for the joy of the holiday season. Brewed with the best hops and malts with a range of caramel malts and dark chocolate malts for the deep color and full body flavors. This Pacific Northwest brew delivers the perfect gift for Christmas Ideal for both the hop and malt lovers of this world.