Brewers all over the world give us beer drinkers a special present every year during the holidays. They brew wonderful beers geared towards warming us up on a cold night, and getting through the holiday bustle.
There is no one style of winter or Christmas beer. It all depends on the specific brewery, and what kind of beer they want to brew that are suitable for the winter season. Three of my favorite winter and Christmas styles of beers are the English style winter warmers, American style Christmas beers and Belgium style Noel/Christmas beers.
English style winter warmers
These winter warmers are full-bodied, malty beers, and low in hops with a sweet finish. Winter warmers usually have dark fruit and dark caramel tasting notes and range from a brownish color to pitch black. Winter warmers also tend to have a little bit more alcohol to give you that alcohol warmth. Here is my favorite winter warmer:
Samuel Smith Winter Warmer
The Samuel Smith brewery was established back in 1798 in Yorkshire, England making this beer a true winter original. Samuel Smith winter warmer is exactly what a winter warmer should taste like. Full bodied, rich toffee, caramel malts with some sweetness and a bit of crisp hop bite.
American Style Christmas beers
American Christmas beers come in a variety of styles, but are often darker colored, malty, and spiced beers. Spices that are associated with these beers are often cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, mulled cider, ginger, and clove. Here are a few of my favorite American Christmas beers:
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Sierra Celebration is a gift that hopheads wait for all year. This fresh hopped beer breaks the mold of malty winter seasonal beers. The fresh hops give this beer that perfect citrus IPA taste while balancing perfectly with the right amount of maltiness that any hop lover would drink on a cold night.
Anchor Christmas Ale
Anchor Christmas is always one of my favorite winter seasonal beers. Never brewed overly strong in alcohol, but always brewed with quality ingredients that makes a quality smooth beer. Nicely spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger this toasty malted beer is perfect for any type of beer drinker.
Belgium style Noel/Christmas beers
These high-octane Belgium beers can also come in a variety of styles most are characterized as strong, dark, malty sweetness offset by loads of spices. The high alcohol content also keeps you warm on a cold night while going down extremely clean and smooth. Here are two of my favorite Belgium style Noel/Christmas beers:
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
One of the most balanced Belgium beers I’ve ever had. At 10% a.b.v this beer offers everything you can ask for, spicy, sweet, and bold.
Scaldis Noel will definitely warm you up. At 13% a.b.v, this sweet thick beer has tons of dark fruit characteristics that almost made it taste like a rich rum fruitcake.
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