By: Nick Handley
Tis the season. The holidays are upon us and something that always brings me a little extra cheer is sitting down with family and friends over a cold crisp holiday craft beer. Now let me be clear, I still enjoy a great IPA, pilsner, or standard lager no matter the season, but to get into the spirit of the season it’s always nice to enjoy a winter or Christmas brew. So what does Christmas ale taste like? Though the style isn’t truly standardized, most tend to have the same general characteristics: dark, malty, and high in alcohol content. Some contain spices like coriander, cloves, and nutmeg — likely a flavor callback to the British tradition of warm, spiced ale called Wassail. Just so you know. Winter brews will have a similar flavor profile as well. Just expect more of a cinnamon-ish taste. They’re good, full, and pack a kick.
When it comes to selection you won’t find a much better variety than what you see at Hy-Vee, with plenty of local options as well. Another great thing to look for at Hy-Vee is their “Thirsty Thursday” promotion where you save on gas for every bottle or can of beer you buy. Be on the lookout for that monthly promotion to stock up and save at the pump. Okay, so back to the beer. I’ve sampled many of the winter and Christmas ales. Some are great but some also contain too much spice for my liking. These are my favorite with a few new ones added to the lineup. Most of these you will find at Hy-Vee and the respective local brewery. Always ask your friendly Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits rep if you’re having a tough time locating what you want. Have a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. Cheers!
2022 Winter Beer Power Rankings:
10- Jubelale- Deschutes
9- Holiday White Ale- Sam Adams
8- 2Xmas Spiced Double Ale- Southern Tier Brewing Company
7- Christmas Ale- Great Lakes Brewing
6- Isolation Ale- Odell Brewing Company
5- Christmas Ale- Breckenridge Brewing
4- Holiday Cheer- Shiner Beer
3- Snow Beast- Kinkaider Brewing (Broken Bow, NE)
2- Red Sled Spiced Ale- Nebraska Brewing Company (Omaha)
1- Celebration IPA- Sierra Nevada Brewing