Christmas is coming… That means spending hours in packed shops, the TV taken over by cute-fluffy-bunny-ain’t-life-grand, vomit-inducing commercials, people at work getting hideously excited about their ‘whacky’ Christmas jumper collection and to top it all you’re going to have to spend time with the in-laws…
But hang on a minute, there is a malty-silver lining of some truly stunning winter beers! Ahh Christmas, all is forgiven.
On The First Day Of Beer-mas My Barman Gave To Me…
Earl Grey IPA – Abv 6.8%
Settling down to a hot cup of earl grey tea on a cold, wintry night might be a little more “Q” than “007” but this hearty IPA puts an alcoholic twist on proceedings that Bond would approve of. Manchester’s Marble Brewery teamed up with Brouwerij Emelisse’s Kees Bubberman to produce this splendid brew, complete with a sleek texture, hoppy notes and a festive fruit aroma.
Ebenezer & Scrooge – Abv 4.2-4.6%
The beer-loving guys behind Yorkshire’s award-winning Elland Brewery are famously creative and this pair of winter warmers prove it. Scrooge is an American-style golden ale with the citrus finish that you’d usually find in the orange at the bottom of your stocking, while Ebenezer comes with a little less “bah humbug” and a generous 4.6% ABV and rich malt taste.
Where to buy? Available from Elland Brewery – Buy here
Snow Top – Abv 6.0%
Fresh from the Old Dairy Brewery, Snow Top is a CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain to warm the ever-loving cockles out of you this winter. Brewed with black malts for a fuller flavour, this dark ale packs a spicy marmalade punch with a hint of Christmas fruitcake. It’d certainly get Rudolph up and dancing.
Where to buy? Available from Old Dairy Brewery – Buy here
Santa’s Little Helper – Abv 4.8%
Wondering which beer should be in your pint glass when you sit down to Christmas dinner? Look no further, Santa’s Little Helper is a heart-warming winter ale with a taste of roasted malts and premium aroma hops. As creators Tring Brewery put it themselves, “this tipple would warm even the cold heart of Scrooge”.
Where to buy? Available from Tring Brewery – Buy here
Clootie Dumpling – Abv 4.3%
Full of winter spices with a tawny, autumnal look, Clootie Dumpling is Christmas pudding in a pint glass. Brewed out in the Orkney Islands on the North Coast of Scotland, this cask ale is hand-crafted in small batches especially for the holiday season, guaranteeing you a festive flavour for those cold nights in.
Where to buy? Available from Orkney Brewery – Buy here
Dizzy’s Christmas Kiss – Abv 4.4%
From the same brilliant brewery that produced Iron Maiden’s legendary Trooper Ale comes Dizzy’s Christmas Kiss, an advent amber ale that we most certainly wouldn’t mind finding under the mistletoe this winter. At a warming 4.4% ABV this rich-tasting ale is so good it’s actually worth having to sit through the Queen’s speech just in the knowledge this great ale is here.
Rabbie’s Porter – Abv 4.3%
A three-time winner of CAMRA’s Champion Porter award, the Ayr Brewing Company’s iconic dark ale is a full-bodied pint that could turn Santa’s beard brown again. With roast coffee, gingerbread and chocolate notes, Rabbie’s Porter is packed with festivity to well and truly jingle those bells.
Where to buy? Available from Ayr Brewing Company – Buy here
Santa’s Sledgehammer – Abv 5.6%
What happens when you take a sledgehammer to a pint glass? Well if it’s Santa’s Sledgehammer you get a party on your taste buds. At a brisk 5.6% ABV, this festive feast of an ale is packed with deep, festive flavours, spicy fruit notes and the scent of warming mulled wine. What more would you expect from the Scottish Highlands at Christmas time?
Where to buy? Available from Cairngorm Brewery – Buy here
Saint Petersburg – Abv 7.4%
You’d expect a stout named after one of Russia’s most famous cities to pack a punch (at a whopping 7.4% ABV no less) but what you might not expect is that it tastes this festive. While Thornbridge Brewery supply this rich, Imperial ale all year round, it’s chocolatey, liquorice notes taste all the better as the nights draw in, and the Christmas lights go up.
Where to buy? Available from Thornbridge Brewery – Buy here
Merry X-Moose – Abv 5.0%
From Wales’ brilliant Purple Moose Brewery comes this dark malt beer using festive, aromatic hops to produce a Christmas flavour for the silly season. But as all Purple Moose’s creations come with fantastic flavour twists, you can expect a pint that will make you “Wish it could be X-Moose every day-ay-ay-ayyyyy….”
Where to buy? Available from Purple Moose Brewery – Buy here
Snowhite – Abv 4.2%
Castle Rock Brewery’s very own “Ice Maiden”, Snowhite is a wintry pale ale for those easy-going nights in with friends and family or secretly getting moist eyed while watching It’s a Wonderful Life. At 4.2% ABV, it goes down smoother than Mrs Claus’ stockings on December the 26th, with a gentle hoppy taste to remind you who’s the fairest of them all.
Where to buy? Available from Castle Rock Brewery – Buy here
Plum Pudding – Abv 4.8%
The brewers behind the Plum Pudding beer love it so much, they’ve dedicated an entire day to it! And we can’t blame them either, especially when it looks and tastes this good, with a crystal-clear autumnal shade and rich, fruity plum notes mixed with the flavour of ripe fruit. The phrase “Christmas in a glass” gets bandied about a lot, but this is the real deal.
Where to buy? Available from JW Lees – Buy here
Festivity – Abv 5.0%
Our hometown of Bath gets totally Xmas’ed each silly season, and Bath Ales’ CAMRA celebrated Festivity porter is a perfect Yuletide ale that will see you through from Bonfire Night to Valentines Day no matter where you live. Hints of coffee, vanilla, rum and warm jumpers and slightly merry carol singing. That’s what we call festive spirit!
Where to buy? Available from Bath Ales – Buy here
Dark Drake – Abv 4.5%
Dancing Duck Brewery’s CAMRA Champion Winter Beer of Britain is a unique blend of caramel and liquorice flavours in an oatmeal stout which treats you to a delicious finish packed with freshly roasted coffee and sweet toffee. At 4.5% ABV, Dark Drake is as cheery as the elves office Christmas party but without the squeaky high-pitched voices.
Where to buy? Available from Amazon – Buy here
Three Kings – Abv 4.5%
Apparently the three kings were truly wise men, but we’re going to argue they weren’t nearly as learned as the master brewers behind this superb winter pint. This tasty ruby ale has a bittersweet, wintry taste worth travelling far and wide for this festive season, and you won’t even have to visit some random stable to find it.
Where to buy? Available from The Grainstore Brewery – Buy here
Baltic Trader Imperial Stout – Abv 10.5%
It goes without saying that at 10.5%, the Baltic Trader Imperial Stout is a winter ale with a heavyweight punch. Not only is this wintry blend brewed with black treacle and three roasted malts for extra strength, but you’ll also find flavours of roasted coffee and vanilla thrown in for good measure. As creators Green Jack Brewery put it themselves, “It’s like a rich plum pudding in a glass”.
Rosey Nosey – Abv 4.9%
If you’re going to leave a glass of something with a mince pie for “Santa” this Christmas, then make it Rosey Nosey. Leave it in a pint glass and then can do your duty if the fatman doesn’t turn up. This dark amber beer with spicy sultana flavours is seriously drinkable and will have you ‘Ho ho ho-ing” long into any silent night.
Cockle Warmer – Abv 4.2%
“Chestnuts roasting by an open fire” … And in your pint glass as well if this festive brew has anything to say about it. With crystal and chocolate malts enriching Jenning’s Christmas special with a deep, rich taste, the Cockle Warmer is sure to warm your cockles and just about every other part of your anatomy on those cold winter nights.
Where to buy? Available from Jenning’s Brewery – Buy here
Advent Ale – Abv 4.4%
The award-winning Hogs Back Brewery have created some of Surrey’s most delicious beers and Advent Ale might just be one of the best with its deep chestnut colour and wintry roasted malt flavours. But determined to spread the Christmas cheer, these quirky brewers have also prepared Mistletoe & Swine for the festive period, a 5.2% ABV creation coming to a pint glass near you soon.
Where to buy? Available from Hog’s Back Brewery – Buy here
Aurora – Abv 4.0%
Much like the natural phenomenon it’s named after, Aurora beer is an amazing winter spectacle. Unlike most festive brews, this ale has fresh, citrus flavours with a hint of lemon, grapefruit and pine, giving you a totally unique drinking experience for the holiday season from one of Derbyshire’s best breweries.
Where to buy? Available from Derby Brewing Company – Buy here
The 14th Noel – Abv 6.1%
Yorkshire’s Acorn Brewery have a tradition of innovation that continues with this fantastically festive ruby ale, brewed with roasted malts and English Bramling Cross hops for a totally different yuletide flavour. This fruity pint is certainly worth seeking out if you’re looking for your next favourite winter warmer. And the Christmas cheer increases each year as the ABV of the beer rises by 0.1%. So 2016’s ale is 1.4% stronger than the 1st Noel brewed in 2003!
Where to buy? Available from Acorn Brewery – Buy here
Fairytale of New York – Abv 4.2%
Now we don’t know if the boys in the NYPD choir are singing Galway Bay, but the bells will be ringing out for Christmas Day with this ever-popular holiday brew. Kelham Brewery’s festive creation has a trio of roasted malts, European hops and fermented with continental yeast to give it a signature spicy taste on a cold Christmas Eve.
Where to buy? Available from Kelham Island Brewery – Buy here
Christmas Cracker – Abv 4.5%
We wish we could tell you what Langham Brewery’s Christmas Cracker tastes like, but that’s all part of the fun. The recipe changes every year, all that’s guaranteed is a “seasonal twist for extra yuletide cheer” and the fact that no matter how the ingredients change, it’s always a malty brew perfect for drinking with a massive plate of pigs in blankets by your side.
Where to buy? Available from Langham Brewery – Buy here
Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale – Abv 4.5%
Need we say more? Charles Well’s glorious Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale is the ideal liquid substitute for dessert in the winter months, and as you’d expect from the brilliant brewer behind brands like Estrella Damm, Bombardier and Erdinger Weissbrau, it’s simply delicious.
Where to buy? Available from Charles Wells – Buy here
Learn more about Charles Wells…Website
Megawatt IIPA – Abv 8.0%
The uber-cool Brixton Brewery first created this high-voltage Double IPA to mark their 100th brew and have tinkered with the flavour each year since to ensure that no two blends are ever the same. 2016’s edition (which also happens to be Brixton Brewery’s 500th brew) is packed with fruity hops from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres and soundchecks at a hair-raising 8.0% ABV.
Where to buy? Available from Brixton Brewery – Buy here
Owlswood – Abv 6.0%
Frensham Brewery’s Owlswood stout is a wintry mystery. It’s available only as an advent beer and upon special request, but with ingredients like coriander, juniper berries, orange peel and chocolate malt, it’s an elusive Christmas tipple well worth seeking out for any true beer lover.
Where to buy? Available from Frensham Brewery – Buy here
Winter Warmer – Abv 5.2%
Handcrafted in the South Wales Valleys, the Winter Warmer is a hearty brew with a flavoursome bittersweet finish and distinct ruby colour that turns virtually red in daylight. But the best thing about the Warmer? The fact that it’s independently made by and for craft beer fans, guaranteeing a complex drink that well and truly puts mass-produced ales on the naughty list.