It’s the most wonderful time for a beer. But what makes a holiday ale? It’s really the inverse of a summer ale—all body, deep color pallets, a tendency to be served warm. For some reason, the holidays bring out the boldness in brewers (again, the inverse of a summer ale).
Maybe it’s because we’re all looking for something new to kick off the new year? Or maybe it signals the changing of the pallet with the seasons? The holidays are a more sugar-based ordeal (especially in the Midwest, no fresh produce for us), and many winter ales reflect this sentiment.
But above all, it’s about doing something special. I’ve gone out to eat so many times this holiday season under the guise of “let’s do something special this holiday,” I totally understand. So here’s a list of some holiday beers from the Midwest. Let me know what I’ve left out (and what I should have left off).
- Ale Asylum Mercy Grand Cru
- August Schell Snowstorm
- Berghoff Red Bock
- Boulevard Nutcracker Ale*
- Capital Winter Skol
- Flat Earth Winter Warlock
- Goose Island Christmas and Mild Winter
- Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer
- Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager
- Leini’s Apple Spice
- New Glarus Back Forty and Coffee Stout
- Sprecher Winter
- Schlafly Winter ESB*
- Summit Winter Ale
- Three Floyds Alpha Klas
Not from the Midwest, but if you get out to a Trader Joe’s they sell a wonderful holiday ale brewed by Unibroue in Quebec.
*-Denotes an ale so wonderful, you must go through any pains necessary to obtain it.
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