I'm by no means any sort of connoisseur, but I do love kicking back w/ a really good beer during the holidays and subsequent Winter months. I gave a shout out to one of my favorite holiday traditions in Mickey Finn's amazing Santa's Magic in an earlier post, but here are some additional recommendations for this time of year:
SAMUEL ADAMS WINTER LAGER
SAMUEL ADAMS WINTER LAGER
As they always have it on hand in local grocer's refrigerated section, Sam Adams Winter Lager has become a staple around my hacienda this Winter. Luckily, I really do enjoy the hell out of it. Malty w/ some caramel, orange peel and cinnamon for a spicy and sweet beginning. Ends with a slight hop taste. Good stuff. Check out their website HERE.
SIERRA NEVADA CELEBRATION ALE
Again, pretty easy to find in most good groceries and liquor stores, Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale always tops the list. Great flavor, very hop-laden w/ a slight bit of a fruity taste...this year's batch REALLY hop-laden. If you don't like spice, look at something else. Me, I think it's the right blend of everything. Check out their website HERE.
GOOSE ISLAND MILD WINTER ALE
I'm not a big fan of their actual Christmas Ale, but Goose Island's Mild Winter Ale is some decent stuff. Made with a variety of specialty malts including roast barley and rye, this beer is a caramel forward, very slightly spicy ale that has a nice slight hop aroma. Very drinkable and, again, not nearly as overbearing as their actual holiday offering. Check out their website HERE.
BELL'S WHITE WINTER ALE
When they aren't on the outs w/ Chicago distributors, Bell's White Winter Ale has been a holiday favorite for the past few years. I usually go more for wheat ales in the Summer, but being it's a smooth and lightly carbonated beer w/ hints of clove, banana (!), and cinnamon...it serves as a nice precursor to the darker/heavier stuff i'll be imbibing Jan-Feb. Check out their website HERE.
BELL'S CHRISTMAS ALE
Bell's also stepped up w/ a delicious, but hard to find holiday brew...i've only been able to enjoy on tap at one of my local watering holes (DURTY NELLIES!). Taste has a nice clean malty character, moderate sweetness with some light fruit notes. A bit of citrus hop flavor and low bitterness for a a very drinkable and pleasant beer. See their website link above.
J.K. SCRUMPY'S HARD CIDER
I enjoy a good pint of cider every now and then, especially in the Fall. I tried J.K. Scrumpy's Hard Cider at holiday beer tasting at my favorite local liquor store (DOBBY'S!) and it wowed me so much I grabbed a few bottles to have on hand for the holiday. It's organic, so there are only two ingredients: Juice and Yeast. The resulting offering is sweet...literally. Good hot or cold as well. Check out their website HERE.
'BEER BELONGS...ENJOY IT!'