The Essential Christmas Beers To Stock Up On Right Now, Ranked

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for beer! While that’s not precisely the way that song goes… maybe it should be? December, regardless of which holidays you celebrate, is a great month for beer. Specifically, Christmas beers.

The beer style is so named because it’s generally available in the late fall until after the holidays. While there’s no guarantee of beer style, they range from amber to red ales, to darker beers like Scotch ales, strong ales, and even stouts. They’re usually stronger in ABV and often (but not always) spices and seasonal flavors like orange peels, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, and others.

The best part?

Every holiday season there are countless Christmas beers from breweries all over the country. And while we think the 2022 holiday season is a great time to try as many local brews as you can, it’s also a great time to enjoy some of the most popular, well-known, OG Christmas beers. Keep reading to see eight of our favorites, ranked based on overall seasonal appeal.

8) Breckenridge Christmas Ale

Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Breckenridge

ABV: 7.1%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Roasted malts, Chinook, and Mt. Hood hops give this malt-forward beer its bold winter warmer flavor. Unlike some of the other well-known Christmas beers, this one doesn’t have holiday spices.

Tasting Notes:

Roasted malts, chocolate, brown bread, caramel, and lightly floral hops are prevalent on the nose. The palate is similar with more bready malts, caramel, and roasted malts. It’s rounded out by more floral hops. Overall, it’s well-balanced, but not overly exciting.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t a bad beer. It’s a nice, solid, malty brew. It just seems to be missing a little something that really makes it a Christmas beer.

7) Bell’s Christmas Ale

Bell’s Christmas Ale
Bell’s

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $12.50 for a six-pack

The Beer:

While many brewers opt for “winter warmers” and other styles for their Christmas beers, Bell’s really goes for it with this seasonal Scotch ale. It’s 7.5% ABV and known for its robust malty flavor and rich, sweet toffee, and warming finish.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is vanilla, raisins, caramel candy, dried cherries, and roasted malts. The palate is centered on brown bread, more vanilla, toffee, dried cherries, chocolate, and herbal, earthy hops. It’s filled with warming flavor but still seems to lack that spice we expect from a Christmas beer.

Bottom Line:

This a beer for the toffee, vanilla, and caramel fans. If you’re looking for seasonal flavors, look elsewhere. You won’t find them here.

6) Avery Old Jubilation

Avery Old Jubilation
Avery

ABV: 8.3%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This 8.3% ABV English-style strong ale is available from October through the holidays. It’s brewed with London ale yeast as well as 2-row, Black, Chocolate, Bonlander Munich, and Gambrinus Honey malts. It gets its hop presence from the addition of Bullion hops.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of dried cherries, other dried fruits, roasted malts, caramel, brown bread, and literally a whole fruitcake greet you before your first sip. The palate expands on this with candied nuts, caramel, roasted malts, and chocolate. There are no wintry spices, but they aren’t missed here.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a holiday-spiced Christmas beer, this isn’t it. But it’s so loaded with rich, caramel, warming flavors you won’t miss it.

5) Deschutes Jubelale

Deschutes Jubelale
Deschutes

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This highly popular “festive winter ale” is brewed with Pale, Crystal, Carapils, Extra Special malts and toasted barley as well as Bravo, Cascade, Delta, Us Tettnang, and East Kent Goldings hops. It’s known for its warming, well-balanced flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel candy, dried cherries, raisins, roasted malts, treacle, and lightly floral earthy pine are found on the nose. The palate is filled with toffee, raisins, roasted malts, molasses, dark chocolate, and just a hint of pine at the very end. It’s a warming, malty sipper for a cold winter night.

Bottom Line:

Another beer without any wintry spices and you definitely don’t miss them. The malt and hop balance makes this a unique, yet highly drinkable winter beer.

4) Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Great Lakes

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

One of the most well-known Christmas beers on available, Great Lakes Christmas Ale is brewed with 2-row, Crystal 45, Special roast, roasted barley, and wheat. It also has Mt. Hood and Cascade hops and gets its wintry flavor from the addition of honey, ginger, and cinnamon.

Tasting Notes:

There are a ton of seasonal spices on the nose. Honey, cinnamon, ginger, orange peels, and toffee lead the way. The palate is more of the same with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, and brown bread leading the way. The finish is a nice mix of malt sweetness and holiday spices.

Bottom Line:

Even with the addition of ginger, honey, and cinnamon, this Christmas beer is not overly spiced. The holiday flavors are well-tempered by the other flavors.

3) Anchor Christmas Ale

Anchor Christmas Ale
Anchor

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Brewed since 1975, there are no Christmas beers more beloved than the iconic Anchor Christmas Ale. Even though the label and ingredients change annually, this winter warmer is known for its caramel malts backbone and wintry flavor palate.

Tasting Notes:

What begins as a nose of roasted malts, moves into toffee, dried fruits, molasses, and light herbal, earthy hops. The palate is centered on treacle, brown bread, raisins, chocolate, figs, and light spices. It’s rounded out with just a hint of bitter, earthy pine. Overall, a rich, complex winter sipper.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason Anchor Christmas Ale is so popular year after year. It’s the balance and complexity that brings drinkers back every holiday season.

2) St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
St. Bernardus

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $11.99 for a 750ml bottle

The Beer:

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is definitely a special winter treat. While some Christmas beers are higher in alcohol content, St. Bernardus takes it to a new level with this 10% ABV Quadruple with its nutty, caramel, slightly spicy, warming flavor.

Tasting Notes:

Complex aromas of dark chocolate, dried cherries, ripe berries, candied orange peels, and caramel malts are big on the nose. The palate is raisins, dried cherries, chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and roasted malts. The finish is rich, sweet, and sublimely warming.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a full-flavored, balanced, malty, warming Christmas beer, look no further than this classic brew. It’s guaranteed to warm your spirits and your body.

1) Troegs Mad Elf

Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs

ABV: 11%

Average Price: $15.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

It’s not the holidays without Troegs Mad Elf. This eagerly-awaited 11% ABV Christ beer is brewed with chocolate malts, Pennsylvania-sourced honey, and five different types of cherries. It’s sweet, tart, warming, and memorable.

Tasting Notes:

Dried cherries, toasted marshmallows, toffee, vanilla beans, roasted malts, and cinnamon are big, bold aromas on the nose. Drinking it reveals more caramel candy, tart cherries, dried fruits, cinnamon, roasted malts, and seasonal spices. It’s sweet, spicy, and effortlessly warming.

Bottom Line:

It was tough to pick the best Christmas beer out of this bunch, but the cherry, honey, and gentle spices of this seasonal staple propelled it above the rest.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/8-christmas-beers-for-holiday-season-ranked/