Christmas is everyone’s favorite holiday, but true beer fans know that the most wonderful time of the year is made even more wonderful with a pint in your hand. Winter warmers and other dark, comforting brews take over around the holidays to help carolers and Christmas tree shoppers thaw out after a chilly night. These beers dance on the tongue, fill the belly and warm the soul. Many of the traditional winter warmers are malty, high-strength ales with a sweet and/or roasty character. Old ales, strong ales and barleywines fit right in. Some new holiday beers boast Christmas-inspired herbs, fruits, and spices. Almost all of them are rich and delicious, including the five Peaks and Pints presents in today’s in-house beer flight: Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Xmas Beer.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Xmas Beer
9% ABV, draft
Salt Lake City brewery Shades Brewing brewed their Gingerbread Stout with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. We receive a strong aroma of ginger coming off the beer, along with cinnamon. In other words, the beer smells like gingerbread cookies and Christmas. On the tongue, gingerbread is the most prominent element. Shocking, we know. There’s also a prominent cinnamon element, which nicely compliments the ginger.
10.2% ABV, draft – bottle in the cooler
Continuing an age-old Belgian tradition of brewing steep beers for cold months, Monkless Belgian Ales humbly offers their winter Belgian quad. Friar’s Festivus captures the senses with aromas of citrus and dark fruit, and a complex ﬂavor proﬁle of caramel, spicy clove, and a slight malty sweetness. Modest amounts of classic dark Belgian candi syrup and fermentation using multiple traditional Belgian-style yeast strains help this traditional winter ale strike the balance between spicy and sweet.
10.5% ABV, draft
Bombastic Brewing’s Santa Caws Imperial Stout harkens back to the Christmas days of old when you might find a chocolate orange in your stocking. Savor this rich silky stout with notes of hot chocolate to make merry. A zest of orange flutters on the nose and lightly on the palate with a dash of nutmeg to round out this cup of cheer.
13% ABV, draft – bottle in cooler
After sharing their different and experimental variations of saisons working as gypsy brewers, brothers Chase and Colin Healey decided it was time to have a brewery of their own. They raised more than $20,000 on Kickstarter with the help of fans and formed Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2012. Their famous Prairie Bomb! is an imperial stout aged on Nordaggio’s espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. It hits the nose with cocoa, vanilla, coffee, chili peppers, and roast. Taste is sweet, chocolate, vanilla, warming chili, coffee initially subtle but comes through much more as it warms, roast malts, and at 13 percent the alcohol is well integrated. It’s dangerously easy to drink, especially when Christmas spices are added, and a name change to Christmas Bomb!
13.7% ABV, draft – bottle in the cooler
Three Ryes Men is Reuben’s Brews‘ US Beer Tasting Championship Grand National Champion, Craft Beer & Brewing Top 20 of 2020, FoBAB Silver-winning, and GABF Gold and Bronze-medalist barrel-aged barleywine. The English-style barleywine is brewed with multiple types of rye and aged in whiskey barrels, featuring a full body with malt driven caramel and chocolate notes, and layers of warming complexity. Adam calls it a “liquified ROLO.”