The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about finding the perfect beer for your Christmas party (or simply a night next to the fireplace), so we did the work for you. After a blind tasting of 25 well-regarded winter warmers and Christmas ales, we've compiled a list of our favorites.
'Schlafly' on Serious Eats
If you want to try Black Tuesday, Kate the Great, Sexual Chocolate, Dark Lord, Surly Darkness, or a number of other great "cult" imperial stouts, you should probably prepare yourself for the possibility of waiting in line on release day, trolling Internet forums looking for trades, buying lottery tickets in hopes of winning a chance to buy a bottle, or paying incredibly inflated prices on eBay. But rest assured, there are plenty of top-tier imperial stouts available that require a lot less hoop-jumping to snag a bottle.
Warm spices are amplified by the rich body and high alcohol of this Christmas Ale from Schlafly in St. Louis. The addition of fragrant orange peel is quite apparent, along with an ample serving of clove and cardamom. This cold-weather beer would work nicely with barbecue, especially with a tangy vinegar-based sauce.