Besides cold weather and candy canes, the holidays mean a variety of Christmas parties. While liquors like whiskey are the traditional choices to warm up, they can often get you into trouble. Plus, they can never measure up to the flavour and body of a delicious brew.
All but one of the selections below is brewed in North America, often with the low temperatures and cheerful spirit of the season in mind. They’re six of the best to sip on in front of a fire, relaxing with friends and family, or to complement a heavy meal. They also make a great gift or offering at a friendly gathering.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Muskoka Brewery: Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
Muskoka Brewery’s warm and flavourful chocolate-cranberry stout is a premium beer in a 750 mL bottle. It’s a dark, aromatic blend of chocolate malt, real cocoa, dark chocolate and fresh cranberries. Its 8% ABV also guarantees a bit of a kick, so take your time with it…or not. Nobody should be surprised that mixing two guilty pleasures like beer and chocolate created something so delicious. More information: Muskoka Brewery
Anchor Brewing: Anchor Christmas Ale
The recipe for Anchor Brewing’s November to January beer changes every year, but don’t ask about particulars—the recipe is top secret. The thick, malty brew is lighter than anticipated, but is topped by a creamy head that suggests otherwise. It’s a rich brown beer that’s perfect for the cold. Just try to forget that it’s coming to you from San Francisco. More information: Anchor Brewing
Wychwood Brewery: Bah Humbug Christmas Cheer Ale
Bah Humbug is the ideal drink to wash down a ham or pot roast during the holidays. Hints of brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, and fig make it as fruit cake in a cup as a beverage can get. It starts sweet and ends bitter and may win for most interesting label design (an animated scrooge, of course). More information: Wychwood Brewery
Samuel Adams: Samuel Adams Holiday Porter
Sam Adams’ holiday porter has been a popular choice since it was introduced in 2004. Malt varieties of caramel and flaked oats add layers to the brew’s blended complexity and flavour. Its deep auburn shade is contrasted with a refreshing consistency uncommon with most dark beers. Try it out with a hot bowl of chili. More information: Samuel Adams
Lake of Bays Brewing Company: Spark House Red Ale
Spark house is a burst of flavour right out of cottage country. Formerly Rousse Red Ale, the brew, as its name suggests, pours a mesmerizing amber that’s ideal for a cold night. The Irish-style ale goes down smooth, with spicy hops and hints of caramel toffee and fresh, dark bread. It’s available year-round, but best-suited to the holidays. More information: Lake of Bays Brewing Company
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery: Flying Monkeys Smash Bomb Atomic IPA
Okay, so the name doesn’t quite encapsulate the holiday spirit, but when the Ontario Craft Brewers make their selections for their holiday Discovery Pack, they rarely miss. Flying Monkey’s India pale ale is a light and foamy brew with the citrus flavours of grapefruit and lime, complemented by the sweet taste of papaya, mango, pineapple and tropical fruits of the like. Give it a few sips and see what you think after the flavour settles in. Honestly, it’s like a holiday vacation. More information: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery