It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re stuffing our stockings with cans, bottles, and growlers then placing those stockings in the fridge, finding ourselves a sweet treat to pair with it, and making it through these cold December days and nights with some holiday seasonal brews we think yule love.
Put some holly and jolly in your holidays with these stellar holiday selections. All pair well with an evening staring at twinkling lights.
We made our list and checked it twice, but did we miss one of your local seasonal favorites? Please comment and let us know that we’ve been naughty. We’ll check it out so we can get it on the nice list.
Penn Brewery’s holiday season offerings are tried and true Winter winners. Nut Roll Ale is a spiced nut brown best enjoyed with some sugar and cinnamon on the rim of your glass and paired with an actual nut roll dessert. St. Nickolaus Bock (and Brewer’s Reserve variant) is a rich, malty lager which is so heart-warming that you’ll think you’re Santa or at least you’ll understand how Santa can withstand all that bitter cold. Pairs well with plates of cookies.
Cranberry Sauce may scream Thanksgiving to you (or you may just scream at the thought of it), but the folks at Hop Farm took this holiday feared-or-revered gelatinous fruit product and fixed it by turning it into an alcoholic treat. They’re genius plan will have you saying “Pass the cranberry sauce!” this Christmas. Or even check out the Cranhattan which is “Cranberry Sauce + Wigle Whiskey Barrels + 2 years”. There is also a Sugar Plum Fairy Belgian Tripel which pairs well with visions of fairies, nutcrackers, and sugar-cookies.
Nostalgic for the Winter Olympics the folks at ShuBrew have made a knee-whackingly enjoyable Tonya Harding Belgian Tripel (Lutz?). It pairs well with ice skates, poorly with knee caps, and is best enjoyed while seated next to anyone other than Nancy Kerrigan. You don’t have to head to Zelienople or the ice rink to find it; several local restaurants carry ShuBrew brews.
Get to Christmas services early by heading to Church Brew Works today. Their draft list brings joy to the world through three sled-ridingly good options. Featuring GingerSled ginger beer which you’ll want to pair with gingerbread, a few friends, and a steep hill, Sleigh Wrecker 2017 which you should pair with elves and a designated driver, and their standard rotating seasonal CBW Christmas Ale which pairs well with presents and their malted bread pudding.
SouthernTier’s Cinnamon Roll Imperial Ale has the obvious dessert pairing, such as the cinnamon roll cupcake from Pittsburgh Sweet Treats which dang near knocked our stockings off. There is also the 2XMAS Winter Warmer which also pairs well with cinnamon rolls and episodes of your binge-worthy show of choice (we chose The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). Then there is Old Man Winter Ale to which we say: Bring Old Man Winter in from outside, sit him by your yule log, warm right up in his enjoyable company, and snack on the tasty goodness of cut-out sugar cookies.
Unfortunately not sighted this year is Krampus (a helles lager) – so maybe next year we all should be naughty so that Krampus comes back!
Hitchhiker’s crazy concoctions hit the taproom and sell out so fast we can’t keep straight what their latest brew is. For a hot minute it was Just Baked which paired well with any and every cookie fresh out of the oven. But that quickly went from just baked to “Who ate all my cookies?!” (as in it’s already long gone). You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out might still be available by the time you get there and for this one we know one thing it doesn’t pair well with: Red Rider BB guns.
If your insides need a good warming up all you need is a pint of East End Brewing’s Snow Melt Winter Ale in order to melt the inches of snow Pittsburgh’s dreary weather has weighed you down with. This pairs well with shoveling the driveway, sled rides, and sugar cookies.
Mindful Brewing’s current tap list is on Holiday overload! Featuring not only their own brews like Aunt Bethany’s Fruit Cake (pairs well with fruit cake perhaps?) and Strawberry Rhubarb Kolsch (pairs with ice cream?) they have other seasonal brews from local breweries like Penn Brewery, Hop Farm, and even Arsenal Cider House. Make your day merry and bright by pulling up a chair while they pull you some pints.
Enix Brewing’s recently released Imperial Stout Ogro comes in at 11% ABV so it is for those seeking the darker-edge vibe of the holidays. If you visit their location they will even pair it for you with some bread pudding and bowling.
The Brew Gentlemen seek to continually improve and have done so with their Kaizen Winter IPA. It pairs well with carrot cake and self-contemplation on how you will improve in 2019. Not in the mood for New Year’s Resolutions? Then grab their Mammoth Winter Double IPA for twice the goodness without the self-assessment; pair this one with pumpkin pie and no regrets.
Some ask why and others ask Weihnachtsbier. Hofbrauhaus’s “Christmas Beer” pairs well with ugly sweaters and chocolate Bavarian pie.
Spoonwood’s vernally-optimistic seasonal brew is Blossom a peanut butter cookie ale whose dessert pairing is as clear as my vision before having a pint. For the Stout-hearted the Bitter End Double Espresso Stout collaboration with Icarus Witch & Black Forge Coffeehouse will leave you feeling nostalgic as 2018 comes to a close. The Whatta Goodboy Winter Warmer has plum and honey so we assume it will pair well with figgy pudding (though we still need someone to bring us some in order to know for sure).
With a name like Snowbound Cinnamon this cider has us dreaming of spending the day on ski slopes and our nights beside a ski lodge fireplace with this cider and snickerdoodles in hand.
Full Pint’s Festivus is a brown lager for the rest of us and paired with an apple pie with leave you with no grievances to air.
Cinderland’s Uncle Ebenezer is a barleywine which can scrooge you over if you aren’t careful and kind to all the Tiny Tims and ghosts you see once you start enjoying this rich, malty brew. Pair it with bread pudding to bring forth those flavor notes then hold onto your Christmas Carols for the tasty ride.
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