4 Recommendations for Christmas Beer

November 23, 2021

4 Recommendations for Christmas Beer

Need some help picking a drink to enjoy with Christmas dinner? We’ve got you. These are our top recommendations for Christmas beer, as well as some drink ideas for anyone who isn’t crazy about the hoppy stuff.

1. Hoppy Holidays: The Best Christmas IPA 

The India pale ale, known for its hoppy flavor and high ABV, is often associated with bearded hipsters and booze snobs. However, don’t let your mental image of the average IPA enthusiast scare you away from this delicious variety of beer! 

Our Pick: The Goose Island Beer Co. Christmas IPA 

For Christmastime drinking, you’ll want to look for an IPA that’s heavy on the malt flavors with other flavor notes that you might not typically find in a pale ale. Caramel and malt tend to be more present in darker beers, but the Goose Island Christmas IPA gives you these notes alongside classic pale ale flavors.

This beer tastes pleasantly woodsy, smells fruity, and has a dark red color and a creamy head. It’s best enjoyed in a tall glass!  

2. The Perfect Scotch Ale for Christmas 2021 

Scotch ales are famous for their prominent notes of caramel, malt, and toffee, as well as for the high amounts of alcohol that you’ll usually find in them. These beers are brewed using malt, which is definitely the star ingredient in any Scotch ale you’ll have the pleasure of trying. Scotch ales are also typically brewed with high amounts of burnt sugar in the form of caramel, molasses, or toffee.

Our Pick: Bell’s Christmas Scotch Ale 

Bell’s Christmas ale, brewed to taste as rich as possible, has prominent caramel notes and a malt-forward flavor that makes it perfect for the holidays. We’re big fans of this one!

Bell’s recommends pairing thor Scotch ale with roasted veggies, pork, turkey, nuts, and cheese, as well as sweet treats like butter pecan ice cream, apples, and pears. They’ve also got several recipes for desserts with the Scotch ale as the main ingredient, which you’ll definitely want to try.

3. Ever Tried a Milk Stout? Now’s the Time. 

Milk stouts (sometimes referred to as cream stouts) are typically dark beers that have added lactose. That might sound a bit weird, being that lactose is the primary sugar found in milk. However, what you get when you combine lactose with a dark beer like a lager or ale is a creamy, delicious brew that’s perfect for Christmas. 

The milk stout was originally marketed as a miracle of modern brewing technology. During the 19th century, the earliest cream stouts were advertised as the perfect pairing for a nutritious lunch. After all, milk is good for your bones and teeth, so the same should be true for beer with milk in it...right? 

Regardless of whether they’re technically healthy for you or not, milk stouts definitely taste damn good – especially around the holidays. The rich, creamy flavors that you get from these beers are exactly what you’d want during December, and they often have appealing notes of everything from chocolate and coffee to brown sugar and vanilla. Sign us up. 

The Best Holiday Milk Stout: Stone Brewing’s Xocoveza 

This unique milk stout is sometimes referred to as the Mexican hot chocolate of beers. With the addition of hot chile peppers, every sip of this spicy fella has a shockingly noticeable kick. With an impressively high ABV – 8% – this beer is spicy, sweet, and chocolatey, making it an ideal drink for cold winter nights when you’ve got a fire roaring and your favorite Christmas movie on the TV.

4. The Best Dark Beer for the Holidays 

When Christmastime comes around, it’s safe to assume that you’re looking for a drink with some rich, festive flavors. That’s why we highly recommend going for a dark beer this winter!

What makes a beer dark? There are a few factors that come into play here. The color of your beer primarily depends on the amount of malt that is used during brewing. The roasting of the hops can also contribute to the beer’s color, as well as to the degree of malty flavor.

Dark beers tend to have flavor notes like coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and nut, while lighter beers often have a wheaty, hoppy taste.

Overall, the best Christmas beers tend to be darker, as the flavor profile that you’ll get from a dark beer pairs better with the holidays. When you’re on the lookout for the perfect Christmas beer, we recommend looking for malty ale you can find.

Our Pick: The Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale 

This dark, highly alcoholic beer has a sweet, spicy, and rich flavor profile that pairs perfectly with classic holiday dishes. You’ll definitely want to have a glass of this one with your roast turkey, ham, or duck, and it’s also an excellent drink to enjoy alongside baked fruit. The Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale is a six-time award winner, so you can count on it being high quality.

What If I Don’t Like Beer?

If you’re not crazy about beer but want a festive drink to enjoy, we highly recommend pouring yourself any of the following holiday-friendly beverages. Some are alcoholic, some are not, and others taste even better with some booze thrown in.

Eggnog 

Made from a combination of whipped egg whites, egg yolks, heavy whipping cream, milk, and sugar, eggnog is a holiday classic that always flies off the shelves during the coldest months of the year. While it isn’t inherently an alcoholic beverage, spiking the ‘nog is a holiday tradition that has carried on through the ages around the world. 

Eggnog typically pairs best with bourbon, brandy, or rum. Spiking your ‘nog with rum will get you a sweet, rich, syrupy flavor in each sip, which is ideal if you like everything as sugary as possible.

Brandy makes eggnog fruitier and adds some wintery spiced flavors, and it’s a slightly classier alternative to rum. Bourbon, on the other hand, is best for anyone who wants their eggnog to have a kick.

You might be wondering if you can spike eggnog with beer. It’s possible, sure, but we don’t necessarily recommend it. If you did want to have beer in your ‘nog this Christmas, we recommend using a milk stout.

Hot Chocolate

You can’t go wrong with some good old hot cocoa around the holidays. While it’s often made using mixable powdered packets, we think homemade hot chocolate tastes way better—and it’s super easy to make! All you need to make hot chocolate at home is a pot, a whisk, and  some milk, cocoa powder, and sugar. Pour it in your favorite mug and toast the man in the red coat: It’s that simple! 

Festive Coffee 

If you need your caffeine fix every morning but want to spice things up for the holidays, try adding some festive java to your daily routine! You can find plenty of flavored coffees that feature hints of peppermint, chocolate, cinnamon, and other festive flavors at your local grocery store, or order something a bit fancier online and brew it at home.

In addition, the holidays are a better time than ever to enjoy your coffee with a little bit of added liqueur. After all, if you can’t live a little at Christmas, when can you? Adding an Irish cream, amaretto, or toffee liqueur to your morning cup of joe is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays... and get pretty buzzed in the process. 

Mulled Wine 

If you’re looking for a warm, comforting alcoholic beverage to enjoy around the holidays, spiced wine is the way to go. Made with a dry red or white wine, boiled fruit, and a carefully-selected blend of spices, mulled wine tastes incredible and will give any Christmas party a classy edge. If you want to up the booziness of your batch of wine, try adding a little bit of cognac. 

Christmas Cocktails

If beer isn’t sweet or fun enough for you, you’re probably better off with a nice cocktail around the holidays. If you look around the internet for just a few minutes, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of recipes for extravagant drinks inspired by Christmas. Fortunately, there are plenty of simpler cocktails that taste amazing during the coldest months of the year. 

One of our favorite quick and simple winter cocktails is The White Russian. It’s the drink enjoyed by The Dude throughout the Coen Brothers’ magnum opus, and there’s a reason why it’s that legendary character’s beverage of choice. The White Russian is a simple, elegant combination of cream, vodka, and a coffee liqueur – just three simple ingredients that get you the only wintertime cocktail you’ll ever need.

Show Off Your Love for Beer This Christmas 

Anytime you need some hilarious attire for a Christmas party, we’ve got your back. Our “Beer and Christmas Cheer” t-shirt is perfect for anyone obsessed with Yuletide drinking, and it features a retro design that is sure to help you stand out in a crowd.

 

Sources:

Malt | The Brew Enthusiast

Everything You Need to Know About Milk Stout, and 7 to Try | Food and Wine

BeerSci: How Beer Gets Its Color | Popular Science


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