Holiday beers are nothing new. In years past, heavy winter warmers usually consisted of barleywines or strong ales and perhaps the addition of spices commonly found on a dinner table. Times have changed. Today, most holiday beers have been replaced by interesting experimentation and unusual concoctions that resemble candy or side dishes. This is not a bad thing. Here are some interesting holiday beers found in O.C. for your holiday celebrations.
Unsung’s St. Nick R. Doodle is a heavy blonde ale with wonderful holiday flavors. Vanilla and cinnamon accompany the bready pale malt to give off a French toast character to accompany the semi-sweet addition of lactose. Also available from Unsung, Chocolate Snowball, reminiscent of a Tootsie Roll! If you’re a sweet chocolate lover, this one is for you. Although I prefer the former, bother are a winning choice for the coming holidays.
Green Cheek has an intriguing holiday offering available to take home. Taste of Happiness is a sour hazy double IPA with cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon. It’s a tangy and fruity beverage with of jammy notes, some subtle spice, and a refreshing twang. With a very appealing foggy pink, you can’t help but let it pull you into the spirit of the holidays.
Speaking of haze, Offshoot Beer Co. (The Bruery) offers a counter to the popular 12 days of Christmas series. Although you can get a box with re-brews of all 12 beers, they are arguably not the same and/or not as unctuous in some cases. The cleverly named Keep the Haze, Ya Filthy Animal is a hazy beer of common strength with generous hopping of Centennial, Mosaic, and Motueka. The ladder provides a unique green note of bitter tropical fruit on the ale. A food-friendly beer for your holiday dinner for sure.
Other breweries that offer some form of holiday beer that may be closer to home for you are: Bottle Logic, Stereo Brewing, Phantom Ales with a mead, and Backstreet with a seltzer. Check your local brewery as beers are released all the time!
Whatever you celebrate, be it Saturnalia and the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or any other cultural celebration, please remember we are at the very least all human beings and have that fact in common. I may not belong to a faith-based belief system or religion and am not convinced of the claims most make, but I do respect one’s convictions and beliefs. I would share a beer and conversations with just about anyone. I would love to celebrate, whatever that celebration may be for you, along with you.
This holiday season, I toast to all of you that have been reading up until now. Thank you for giving me an outlet to express my love of beer and share it with my fellow man. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, que tangan bonitas Posadas, Happy Winter Solstice, and Saturnalia, and any other I may have left out. You are included, too.
Cheers and have a safe holiday!
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.