It’s cold outside, so stay inside and warm yourself up with one of these seasonal beers. December means a lot of Christmas brews (gingerbread beer, anyone?) but once you get into the New Year, there are still plenty of new, Santa-free selections to try.
1. AUN MAS CHILI JESUS // EVIL TWIN
This spicy stout from Denmark-based brewery Evil Twin is hard to track down, but worth the trouble. The beer—which is brewed in Spain—has a creamy consistency and a taste not unlike dark hot chocolate. The chili peppers cut the fudgy beer nicely and give it a complex flavor. Thanks to an ABV of 12 percent, you’ll be feeling pretty toasty in no time.
2. MY BLOODY VALENTINE // ALESMITH
This blood-red amber ale is the perfect beer to share with a special someone (or to cry into alone) on Valentine’s Day. The California brewery’s special holiday beer features floral hops, caramel malts, and just the right amount of sweetness. A relative of Alesmith’s Evil Dead Red, the beer shares a similar color and ABV (6.66 percent). The brewery has been selling bottles of this seasonal ale since 2013—all the better for beer drinkers hoping to enjoy a slightly macabre Valentine’s Day.
3. PEPPERMINT VICTORY AT SEA // BALLAST POINT
If you love mint chocolate ice cream, then you'll probably enjoy this beer, a minty spin on Ballast Point’s popular Victory at Sea. While some might be skeptical of a peppermint beer, the San Diego brewery has found a way to utilize the festive flavor. The peppermint pairs nicely with notes of dark chocolate and coffee without overpowering the taste. You might want to share this one with a friend: The heavy imperial stout can be quite filling.
4. NITRO COFFEE STOUT // SAM ADAMS
Most of us have had a nitro stout in the form of a Guinness. The Irish brewery has long had the nitro beer market cornered, but lately, American breweries—Left Hand Brewing and Oskar Blues—have been muscling their way in. Samuel Adams has also joined in with three new nitrogen-infused selections: coffee stout, white ale, and IPA. While all three silky flavors are enjoyable, the nitro coffee is best enjoyed on a snowy afternoon. The smooth stout tastes a lot like drinking a cold-brewed coffee with very little acidity. The nitrogen lends the beer a unique smoothness that pairs nicely with a warm sweater and crackling fire.
5. ARCTIC SAISON // GLASSROOTS
Anchorage Brewing and Grassroots Brewing teamed up to bring you this light, wintery saison. The airy beer, which has a refreshing finish, is a welcome departure from the usual stouts and porters enjoyed in the colder months. Thanks to its woody and citrus notes, this pick will make you feel like you’re hanging out in a log cabin in Alaska.