Have a Beery Christmas!

'Tis the season for Christmas ales!

We all know that the Christmas season is upon us when you hear the ringing bells of the Salvation Army at your local storefront, your neighbor’s house adorned in lights, and candy canes on the shelves shortly after the Halloween season.

But the best sign that the holiday is near is the wide assortment of Christmas beers available. A stronger, sometimes darker, spiced style that often has a richer body and warm finish, which is perfect for the cold winter season ahead of us.

Throughout our history, beer of a marginally higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when friends and family alike get together to enjoy the season.

Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or have more character than the average craft beers.

Many brews of this style smell of Christmas cookies, gingerbread, , spruce, or mulling spices, any combination of aromatics that suggests the holiday season. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

The special ingredients used, such as allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger should complement the beer and not overwhelm it.

As mentioned above, spices associated with the holiday season are typical in this style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may also include caramel, toasted, nutty, or chocolate flavors.

Now that you are familiar with what common Christmas ales should be, let me share one of my favorites that’s slightly untraditional. Every year, I look forward to sharing a Christmas beer brewed by Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company, one of my favorite breweries. It's located nearby in Akron, OH.

Hoppin’ Frog’s Frosted Frog is a unique example of the Christmas-ale style. Considered a winter warmer, this beer comes in at a modest 8.6-percent alcohol by volume and is offered in 22-ounce bottles.

This beer certainly smells like Christmas! Aromas of spiced fruitcake, (I personally get a huge amount of cinnamon!), clove, and nutmeg make for a big appropriate holiday aroma. 

You can find out more about this beer here. Other popular Christmas ales include Bell’s Christmas Ale and Great Lakes Christmas Ale.  

I hope that this holiday season treats you well and I encourage you to step out of your beer comfort zone and give this unique style a try! A beery Christmas to all and to all a good night!



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bob Hagerty December 20, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Tickets are now on sale for Brews for a Chili Night II, a beer- and chili-tasting event to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. All proceeds will be donated to the library. The event will mark the fourth in a series of highly successful beer-themed fundraisers organized by the Friends of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. The all-inclusive admission price of $30 per person includes complimentary samples of at least a dozen craft beers from our region, a wide array of chili, snacks and raffle drawings. The chili proved so popular last winter that the staff plans to double the amount served this time. The beers will include lagers, ales, porters and stouts. Soft drinks and cider also will be served. Tickets will be sold at the Book Cellar used-book shop in the basement of the library. For further information: Bob Hagerty, secretary of the Friends. cell 412 417 5415, jamesrhagerty888@gmail.com


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