We all have holiday traditions. Every December I watch Die Hard and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, spend hours driving across Missouri to visit family and friends, and then spend many more hours sharing big Christmas beers with said family and friends. This year I'm sharing my 8 top Christmas beers here. Are they among your favorites, too?
'winter warmer' on Serious Eats
Goose Island Mild Winter is malty and creamy, with rye for a touch of spice. The crisp finish may be a little sour and bitter for some, but there's enough dry-cocoa and toffee richness to balance it. I'm glad this beer doesn't veer toward sweetness; it's ideal for pairing with a grilled steak or lentil soup (especially if you've made it with a meaty ham hock). Have you tried Goose Island's Mild Winter? What do you think of Goose Island beers in general these days?
Here in New York, we can't buy Bell's beer. So every time I visit my in-laws in Virginia, I find some excuse to go beer shopping and pick up a Two Hearted or six. But on a recent trip, I was drawn to Bell's Christmas Ale, a malty winter seasonal from the Michigan brewery.
When it comes to homebrewing, I am a procrastinator. I tend to brew the beer that I want to drink today, not the one I want to drink two months from now, when it will actually be ready for sipping. But today is different.
Winter Warmer ales are like gingerbread and cognac wrapped up in a beer. Start with a good-tasting beer foundation, add some spice on top, and finish with some alcoholic warmth. This recipe clocks in at around 8.7% ABV.