Spicy mulled wine, bright seasonal cocktails, soothing hot toddies… When it comes to seasonal drinks for the holidays, we’re spoiled with choices. So, why should beer be any different?

Rich, chocolatey stouts and spiced winter ales are typically staples for this time of year (for good reason, of course), and each year, unique offerings like fruity, pie-flavored IPAs and spruce-flavored brews start to pop up on tap and on shelves as holiday party must-haves.

Whether you’re looking for a memorable six-pack to gift to the beer lover in your life, an impressive host present for your next holiday gathering, or even just something seasonal to sip on at home while you settle in for a long Christmas nap (or maybe a movie marathon!), Pittsburgh’s local breweries have just what you need. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, but remember that these are seasonal and often limited, so act fast!

Cinderlands Beer Co.

Cinderlands just released two new seasonal brews this week: “Lotta Sap,” described as a “Holiday West Coast double IPA brewed with Colorado spruce tips, sweet orange peel, and hops,” and “One More Sleep,” which is a “Gingerbread cookie imperial milk stout brewed with cold-pressed organic ginger juice, Madagascar vanilla bean, blended with Ceylon cinnamon-infused bourbon barrel-aged stout.” These two will undoubtedly impress the beer snobs in your life, but still have a tasty universal appeal.

Allegheny City Brewing

“Winter Solstice,” a seasonal offering by Allegheny City Brewing in collaboration with new Ambridge-based brewing company Fermata, is a “take on the Cascadian Dark Ale style with the addition of spruce tips in the boil and directly to the fermenter.” With its light roast flavor and refreshing spruce scent on the nose, this is a unique beer that can be enjoyed by the hops nerds in your life and more casual beer drinkers as well!

Voodoo Brewery

According to regional brewers Voodoo Brewery, “Big Black Voodoo Daddy” is their “big bad seasonal stout made with copious amounts of chocolate and roasted malts and topped off with the right amount of hops to make it taste like a chocolate bar au natural.” This is a seasonal favorite for many stout aficionados year after year, and it’s currently available at their Homestead location, so hurry down if you want to get your hands on some this winter!

Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

While “Just Filling” isn’t technically a holiday beer, we had to include any brew that’s described as “pie filling in a can.” A smoothie sour brewed with milk sugar and conditioned on tart plum, blueberry, cinnamon, and vanilla, this sweet and tart new release has all the flavors of the holiday season and will pair excellently with just about any Christmas Day dessert.

Necromancer Brewing

This year, Necromancer Brewing is introducing several new releases as part of their “Any Holiday, Ever,” series. Their first one up is “The Green One,” an Imperial West Coast IPA described as an  “American craft beer pioneer [that] is malt balanced, dripping with sticky orange citrus, and finishes zippy with a kiss of pine resin.” This is the first of four releases this winter, so keep an eye on Necromancer’s social media for additional updates!

East End Brewing

“Snow Melt” is a much-loved annual release from East End Brewing that usually makes its triumphant return this time of year. Described as “hoppy, toasty winter ale and a favorite seasonal around here” by its makers, this selection is one that’s universally enjoyable by beer drinkers, combining the best of popular hoppy offerings and warm winter flavors.

Dancing Gnome Beer

In case you missed it, Dancing Gnome Beer has recently opened a stunning new space in Sharpsburg just a few doors down from its old spot, and if you make plans to stop by this December, you should consider ordering a pint of “Yam Jam.” This seasonal IPA is conditioned on fresh yams, and while its availability is limited, it would be a fine addition to your Christmas Eve dinner (especially if enjoyed with some sweet potato pie).

Brew Gentlemen

After 20 months of being closed, Braddock brewers Brew Gentlemen are preparing to reopen their taproom on December 17th (check their website for details!) and we hope we’ll get to see one of their seasonal favorites, “The Trees,” which is “a spruce IPA made with fresh spruce tips that tastes like the holidays in a glass.” Here’s the catch: this was available before Thanksgiving, but we’re not making any promises about its return, or any other potential seasonal releases from Brew Gentlemen. Maybe it’ll be on the menu for BG’s open house? Fingers crossed!

Penn Brewery

Penn Brewery has a wide range of seasonal selections in local stores and in their Troy Hill taproom, but what gets beer lovers particularly excited is the release of “St. Nikolaus Bock Bier” and “St. Nik Brewers’ Reserve.” These award-winning selections are exclusively available this time of year and go quickly, so if you want to take home some of this holiday/European-style Bock beer that is a “very rich, strong, malty lager” and is “dark ruby in color with notes of chocolate and roasted malt,” don’t hesitate.

Threadbare Cider House

Not everyone is a beer drinker, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the delightful flavors of the holidays! Threadbare Cider House has released its award-winning “Gingerbread” cider made from “fresh local apples and warming seasonal spices [that] capture the traditional and celebrated flavor of gingerbread that we all know and love.” Also available is a seasonal “Sweet Cranberry” cider.

Arsenal Cider House

Another pick for our cider lovers is “Snowbound Cinnamon,” a yearly seasonal release from Lawrenceville-based Arsenal Cider that can be found throughout the region. It’s a semi-sweet modern cider with a touch of effervescence and a spiced cinnamon flavor, and it’s currently on tap in all PA locations and available bottled to go!

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Kaidia Pickels

Kaidia is a native Pittsburgher and a content writer for a local marketing agency. She loves to travel, try new dishes at local restaurants, and drop in to fitness class throughout the city. She's a die-hard Pens fan as well as an amateur baker and mixologist — sometimes combining both in one recipe!

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