Even though the holidays will likely look very different than anything we’ve ever experienced before, at the heart, they’re filled with opportunities to gather (safely and maybe even virtually) with family and enjoy a nice beer. We’ve asked our in-house Certified Cicerone® Ryan to give his list of favorite Holiday Edition Beers. Cheers!
With the Holidays on the horizon and temperatures changing, so are the seasonal beers. With the changes coming upon us, it makes me think about all the wonderful things about the holidays. The family, the friends, the memories of Christmas past and of course all the different occasions to share a beer with our loved ones and complete strangers. With all that is happening in the world, we can think of the times we have spent sharing beers around the dinner table with family, in the garage with friends or with a complete stranger at the bar, while waiting for a delayed flight on our way home for the holidays.
With the growing excitement for the holidays, I would like to share a list of some of my favorite beers of the holiday season. There are many beers available for the season and I love to continue exploring new beers, as we are able to access more beers from across the country. These are the ones that I find in my beer-fridge year after year and have created many memories around the holidays. Please enjoy my list and think of the beers that represent your holidays.
Jubelale – Deschutes Brewing Co.
Jubelale is a holiday favorite in Central Oregon. We wait all year for its release and have done so for the past 22 years. Every year there is a new label done by a local artist to commemorate its release. Jubelale is a festive winter ale that at first glance has a dark walnut color but held up to light has a beautiful red mahogany color with a creamy off-white head. It is a medium body beer that offers a rich malt flavor, with notes of toffee, cocoa, dried fruit and has a spicy, herbal hop profile. Perfect beer for Christmas dinner or nestled up by the fireplace.
Pairings: Herb roasted Pork loin or smoked brisket with roasted root veggies, Rich Venison stew, Crème Brulee, and Grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls.
ABV: 6.7% IBU: 65
Celebration – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Celebration is a great Fresh Hop IPA that never disappoints and sets the mood to celebrate. Fresh hops beers are made with hops that have beenharvested, dried and put into the beer within hours to a few weeks after coming off the bine. Celebration is a great IPA that reminds of early West coast IPA’s with its heavy presence of citrus and pine. Celebration pours a beautiful amber color with a slightly off-white head. Aromas of citrus and pine are at the forefront of this beer with a slight hint of toasted malt. It presents itself once again with flavors of citrus and pine, which is then followed by a nice malt balance and finishes with a smooth bitterness expected in a IPA. This beer is a must when decorating the tree.
Food Pairings: Celebration brined Spatchcocked smoked turkey with stuffing and gravy, Meaty Calzone, Fried Chicken wings, Steak and Gorgonzola kettle chip nachos, and Carrot cake.
ABV: 6.8% IBU: 65
Bad Santa – Pelican Brewing Co.
Bad Santa doesn’t care if you have been naughty or nice. This is a must-have for me at the holidays and a great representation of a Cascadian Dark Ale (Black IPA). It’s a style that I have enjoyed and glad to have it starting to end up on more tap lists. It’s a delicious dark beer filled with complex flavors and aromas. Bad Santa has a nice black walnut color with a light tan head. It has a roasted and slightly burnt aroma, followed with an herbal/spicy hop presence. This beer opens with a punch of herb and piney hop flavors. Then backed by notes of dark malts, coffee and bittersweet chocolate, finishes with a slightly dry mouthfeel. This beer is a great one to enjoy while building Gingerbread houses with your family.
Pairings: Fried Turkey/Chicken, BBQ Short ribs, Shepard’s pie with wild game, Smoked gouda, Ginger snaps and Snickerdoodles.
ABV: 7.5% IBU: 65
Christmas Ale – Anchor Brewing
This beer represents the holidays in a bottle. Just like the holidays, it comes every year, and has since 1975. The recipe changes every year, so each vintage is different. There is not a better way to spend a cold winter evening, then sharing a vertical of Christmas ale with friends. Seeing the joy radiating over everyone’s faces during this special occasion. Christmas ale pours with an opaque dark chestnut color with a head that reminds me of cocoa and marshmallows. It has aromas of dark chocolate, coffee and hints of molasses and spice. It has a medium body and carbonation with a silky mouthfeel. It is packed with flavor, notes of cocoa, burnt toffee, with rich malt flavor that is slightly sweet. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruit are left behind after each savory sip. This beer brings back memories of Christmas past and is perfect for sitting on the porch enjoying the peaceful silence of the snow falling.
Food Pairings: Roasted wild boar basted with a clove honey, fruit cake, cinnamon chip scones, roasted mixed nuts and could complement a nice cigar.
ABV: 7% IBU: 28
Shred Head – Sunriver Brewing Co.
Shred Head is described as a UK style winter warmer with a NW twist. This beer reminds me of growing up when my family would spend every holiday just outside Bend to go snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor. Shred head pours a nice copper color with a slight red hue and has a slightly tan head. It smells of caramel and roasted malts and quite resinous. It tastes of roasted and toasty malts, flavors of caramel, toffee, very slight nuttiness and has a nice citrus and piney presence from the hops. It is medium to full body and has a nice warming finish. This beer is great for when you are coming off the mountain and need a little help warming up. The perfect beer for Après ski.
Food pairing: Braised short ribs with sauteed mushrooms, Roasted Lamb, Broasted chicken, Poutine with duck fat fries, Meatloaf, and Pecan pie.
ABV: 7% IBU: 54
Hope some of these beers can bring you some holiday cheer and create some memorable occasions.
Craft Beer Sales Manager