From our staff to you and your friends, families, and fellow craft beer fans, we're wishing you the very happiest holidays and a great new year to boot. As we normally do any time holidays or special occasions separate us from the 400 square foot studio that we all live in together near the base of the Washington Monument, the DCBeer team started an email thread to discuss what we think are some of the best holiday beer pick-ups of the year. Our discussion is (more or less) captured for you below, along with the snark that is so necessary this time of year. Without further gift wrapping, here are our thoughts on some great beers to drink this holiday season. Hopefully you still have some time to track these down. Cheers and happy holidays.
Jake: Trader Joe's holiday ales made by Unibroue. They're $5 for a 750mL bottle and used to be Trois Pistoles. Now the recipe changes every year, and they benefit from 1-2 years of aging.
Nick: This year's TJs is better fresh than the one I had last year. They're not afraid to carbonate, those Canadians. I haven't had any of the TJ's aged, though. I have a magnum of Mikkeller Red/White Christmas that I'm going to open for these here holidays. I bought it because I'm a sucker for marketing, and it was a huge bottle with a fancy label.
Chris: Amen to TJ's. Hoppin' Frog Frosted Frog was awesome, as was Gouden Caroulus Cuvee de Kaiser (not technically Christmas beer, but a great beer for Christmas).
Jake: Oh, Scaldis Noel is always a good one, but I haven't had it this year yet.
Nick: You guys, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Shut up [Ed. Note: Such a bully!]. Also, I'm always a fan of Great Divide Hibernation [not available in DC, folks] and DuPont Avec Les Bon Voeux.
John: Second the DuPont.
Jake: Second the Great Lakes.
Nate: Planning on Port City Tidings and with people getting hyped about Sly Fox, I'll add their Christmas Ale to the list.
Mike: Avec [Les Bon Voeux] for sure. I just had the Fantome Noel and didn't think it bad. Anybody have 3 Stars' winter beer [Winter Madness]?
Jake: Yeah, it's a keeper. Not overly spiced and hides the ABV well.
Nick: Westy 12
Bill: Last Christmas I drank an entire magnum of Anchor Our Special Ale. Then I napped. Good story?
Nick: You thought you napped when, in fact, you were this dude's backup vocalist. It wasn't pretty. http://wtop.com/109/3164005/
Mike: My late nomination is for Schlafly Bier de Garde. Probably the best [bier de garde] I've had this year. That's not saying much, but I really cannot get over the interplay of its Franco-Belgi goodness. Sweet from the yeast, not a crazy malt sweetness but still strong enough to enjoy on a winter's night. More subtleties release as it warms and it can more or less pair with whatever meat, cheese, veggie or fruit you throw at it.
John: I vote Bud Light Lime. Its festive interplay of rice and chemically produced lime flavoring weave a Christmas wreath of flavors for your palate that leaves you cold and watery like Frosty the Snowman.
Bill: Getting the last word in here, but I have to give a vote to Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. With so much malt going on in so many Christmas ales, it's nice to get a nicely-hopped, well balanced American IPA each year, and every year SN delivers with Celebration.
What are some of your favorite beers for this time of year? Leave them in the comments! Cheers!