Christmas is not traditionally a beer holiday. There is, of course, eggnog, which Food Channel contributor Frank Bruni recently called "a dessert in drink drag, a single-cup, multi-egg sleigh ride to feeling overstuffed and overwhelmed." And don't forget mulled wine, so entrenched that it makes an appearance in Dickens's "Christmas Carol," when Fred toasts his Uncle Scrooge.
But brewers love Christmas too—and love releasing seasonal winter beers, high-alcohol spice bombs exploding with Christmas cheer. Here's a roundup of 10 to try from Eater, and I can personally vouch for Anchor Brewing's 2010 Christmas beer, a mellow crowd-pleaser that is one of the few beers you will ever find in a magnum:
1. Anchor Christmas Ale (5.5% ABV)
Craft Beer godfather Fritz Maytag started brewing this cold weather favorite back in 1975 while most craft beer lovers were still in short pants. The recipe varies by year and is always secret; 2010's has a pleasing, distinctly piney kick. (anchorbrewing.com)
2. The Bruery Three French Hens (10% ABV)
Brewer Patric Rue and his band of elves keeps coming up with well-made beers carefully attuned to the seasons. A Belgian style 'dubbel' aged partially in French Oak barrels, it can even age longer in the bottle to further smooth out its raisiny, slightly sweet profile. (thebruery.com)
3. Nøgne-Ø Winter Ale (8.5% ABV)
Akin to a strong English Porter, this hearty, dark brew out of Norway is redolent of cocoa, spruce, and smoke, with a fine carbonation and pleasing but not overpowering heft. (nogne-o.com)
Read the full story at Eater.