TheFullPint.com loves the holidays. There are so many great holiday beers out from Thanksgiving until New Years to pick from, and other great foods and treats to consume in large quantities. After going over this list of holy goods, make sure to share your tips for enjoying craft beer and good eats this holiday season in the comment section. Please check at the bottom for links to find these items for your holiday gathering.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - I have found myself circling my local beer shops right after Halloween, seeing when the first shipment of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale hits the shelves. This beer doesn’t taste “Christmasy”, it will grow on you so much each year, you will naturally associate it with the holidays. It could possibly be one of the best pound for pound IPAs made, and is reasonably priced at $7-9 a six pack. Some folks like to store vintages of this beer, but I would advise you to only drink this fresh. I have tried this beer with two years on it, and much of that awesome citrus aroma is gone, and it becomes a less vibrant, more bitter beer. This beer can be found in almost every state.
Honey Baked Ham - I love going all out on my food spread, and I enjoy making it myself in the kitchen. With a new born infant in the house, I needed a quick fix for good grub. I ordered a nice portion of Honey Baked Turkey and Honey Baked Ham, and everyone loved it. Honey Baked Ham is in the league of greatness that is only occupied by bacon, good beef jerky, or New Jersey Pork Roll. The stuff is smoked nicely, honey glazed, and sliced up for you. I enjoyed it at room temperature with some spicy mustard on the side. How does this story tie into beer? Well… I enjoyed a mini keg of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale along with it. If you are in Bell’s territory, you need to pick up one of these at around $25 for 5 Litres. It went perfect with the ham, and its something I’m going to try and make a tradition from now on. If you can’t get Two Hearted Ale in your area, try Stone Ruination IPA or even another six pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.
Beer Nog made with Port Brewing Old Viscosity - Seriously. Not kidding. Our friend Randy Clemens (local BJCP judge, and beer/wine writer) invented a heavenly holiday concoction known as Beer Nog. Picking the beer part to be Port Brewing Old Viscosity is genius. The beer is rich, malty and complex and melds well with a home made creamy eggnog base. Follow this link for the entire recipe and official beer substitutions .
Anchor Christmas (Our Special Ale) – If you would like to capture many of the comforting flavors and smells of Christmas in a glass of beer, or just like world class beer, Anchor Christmas (Our Special Ale) is for you. Going on it’s 34th year, Anchor magically captures Christmas in a bottle with this beautiful dark amber ale. The beer not only looks incredible in an Imperial pint glass or tulip, it smells unreal. This beer is reasonably priced at $12.00 a six pack and can be found in magnum bottles as well in finer liquor stores.
Dark Chocolate from Trader Joes or Whole Foods – You might not be a fan of Whole Foods or you may not live near a Trader Joes, but you need to find a store that sells good quality/decently priced Dark Chocolate. It is Goose Island Bourbon County Stout season, as well as other great malty craft beers out, and you can enhance the enjoyment with a few bites of dark chocolate, then a few sips of beer. Another great beer pairing with dark chocolate is to pair it with a fruit lambic or Russian River Consecreation. After trying this, you might never go back!
The Bruery’s Two Turtle Doves - In The Bruery’s infancy last year, they began their 12 Days of Christmas Series, starting the song out with “A Partridge in a Pear Tree.” The idea was great but ballsy for two reasons: first, the brand new brewery would have commit to 11 more years of brewing to complete the series, and they would have to make beers that would hold up in a 12 year tasting vertical. Partridge was big, but wasn’t very bubbly, and came off a bit too sweet for my tongue. As we get to the second day of Christmas, The Bruery hits a home run with Two Turtle Doves. The beer is simply magnificent. It is a strong, dark Belgian ale, made with cocoa nibs and pecans. While it is 12 % alcohol, its dangerously drinkable and very inviting. While you can get this beer in California for sure, this beer hasn’t reached the entire US map yet, but hopefully by Six Geese a Laying you will be able to enjoy a nice beer from The Bruery.
Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale – I’ve always shied away from fruity beers, not because I don’t like fruit and beer, but because many that I have tried come off as artificially sweet or fruity, and I mostly enjoy a drier beer experience. I broke my own rule when I tried Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale. It is very close to a raspberry tootsie roll pop, and it really works for me. The brown ale base is nice, the raspberry comes off candy like, and the texture is quite chewy. This beer hasn’t gotten an overwhelming response from the beer rating websites, but I not only enjoyed it, I think you will too.
Prime Rib and Strong Ale – One of my favorite traditions is to roast a rosemary,kosher salt,pepper and garlic rubbed USDA Prime Rib roast. I bring it to medium rare temperature, give it a quick rest, then sear for a nice crust per Alton Brown’s instructions and have never been disappointed. This and some mashed potatoes will allow you to crack open a few bottles of Strong Ale that you might have been saving all year. The heartiness of the meat and potatoes are sure to co-mingle with the higher alcohol and bold flavors of Strong Ale, and it’s an extraordinary treat on top of that. If you have saved a Barrel Aged Alesmith or a 3 Floyds Dark Lord, this would be something to crack open in the middle or end of your prime rib enjoying session.
Craft Session Beers for The Non-Believers – There is a great chance you will have some guests over that are just not going to geek out on craft beer or want to try it. They might be the kind of folks who gravitate towards Heineken or Coors Light. It is your craft beer loving duty to keep that stuff out of your house, while being a good host at the same time. For the Heineken or Light Lager fan, get a few 12 packs of Full Sail Session Ale or Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. Well crafted, tasty and 100x better than Heiney or Coors. For all you know, this is the gateway drug into better beer for your cheap swill loving friends and family.
Craft Beer Holiday Guide from The Full Pint Index
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – Found in liquor stores, supermarkets, and beverage warehouses nation wide.
Honey Baked Ham – Store locations nationwide, as well as online orders.
Beer Nog with Old Viscosity – Crafted By Randy Clemens, and easy enough to make.
Anchor Christmas (Our Special Ale) – Available nationwide at bottle shops and finer liquor stores.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale – Found in select states around Michigan and East Coast States.
The Bruery Two Turtle Doves – Located in 20 different states already!
Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale – Available many states where finer beers are sold including Whole Foods Market.
Prime Rib – Alton Brown’s Recipe fordry rubbing and slow roasting a glorious piece of meat to perfection. I don’t bother with the clay pot, but you can.
Full Sail Session Ale and Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold for the Pale Lager drinkers at your gathering.