Winter and Christmas beers

Κείμενο Simon Difford

Winter and Christmas beers image 1

Beers have long been specifically brewed for consumption over the winter months, and such beers given a Christmassy theme are becoming more commonplace. Winter ales can be far more serious and rewarding than just beers with a gimmicky name and a Santa label.

These winter warmers are typically full-bodied with a high alcohol strength, often giving them an extended shelf-life meaning they can be laid down for future Christmases as they develop in the bottle. Many such beers carry a vintage so cracking them open on Christmas day can carry the same anticipation as the vintage port.

Belgian brewers have a long tradition of making stronger, darker and sweeter ales for drinking during the cold winter months. They are also often flavoured with spices and other seasonal ingredients such as ginger and cinnamon.

We Brits also long brewed winter beers with unhopped and lightly hopped ales traditionally served warmed and spiced. Sadly, such beers and the practice of heating beers died out before WW1, but strong British winter ales are more popular than ever. As are winter stouts.

While things may be very different in the Southern Hemisphere, understandably in Europe and North America it is top fermented ales rather than cooling lagers that dominate the winter themed beer market. That said, some canny marketing departments have seen fit to bring us the likes of Christmas On The Beach Lager - appropriate if you're spending Christmas in Sydney, Australia but not so cheery in the Scottish Highlands.

Discerning beer drinkers - if you see a can of lager decorated with a Santa riding a sleigh in the snow, Tuborg Julebryg for example, then don't be surprised if the beer turns out to be about as tasteful as a Christmas jumper. A "winter warmer beer" should suggest an ale and we've more than 40 such brews on this website for you to peruse. However, we particularly recommend the following:

De Koninck Winter Ale
De Ranke Père Noël
Delirium Christmas / Delirium Noël
Brooklyn Winter Ale
Dubuisson Scaldis Noel
Gauloise Christmas Beer
Goose Island Christmas Ale

Winter and Christmas beers image 1 Winter and Christmas beers image 2 Winter and Christmas beers image 3 Winter and Christmas beers image 4
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Brooklyn Winter Ale image

Brooklyn Winter Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6.1

De Ranke Père Noël image

De Ranke Père Noël

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 7

Goose Island Christmas Ale image

Goose Island Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 7.3

Dubuisson Scaldis Noel image

Dubuisson Scaldis Noel

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 12

Southwark Spice Winter Ale image

Southwark Spice Winter Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6

Gauloise Christmas Beer (Bocq Christmas) image

Gauloise Christmas Beer (Bocq Christmas)

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 8.1

Brains Santa's Beard image

Brains Santa's Beard

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 4.5

BrewDog Hoppy Christmas image

BrewDog Hoppy Christmas

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 7.2

Delirium Christmas image

Delirium Christmas

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 10

Pickled Santa Christmas Ale image

Pickled Santa Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6

Dorothy Goodbody’s Christmas Ale image

Dorothy Goodbody’s Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6

BrewDog Christmas Porter image

BrewDog Christmas Porter

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6.2

Ridgeway Bad Elf Winter's Ale image

Ridgeway Bad Elf Winter's Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6

Anchor Christmas Ale image

Anchor Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 5.5

Hook Norton Twelve Days image

Hook Norton Twelve Days

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 5.5

St Peter's Christmas Ale image

St Peter's Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 7

Dorothy Goodbody’s Christmas Cracker image

Dorothy Goodbody’s Christmas Cracker

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 4.7

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale image

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 7

Box Steam Christmas Box Blonde image

Box Steam Christmas Box Blonde

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 5.2

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf image

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 9

Festive Christmas Porter image

Festive Christmas Porter

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 4.5

Warm Welcome Nut Brown Ale image

Warm Welcome Nut Brown Ale

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 6

Cazeau Tournay de Noel image

Cazeau Tournay de Noel

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 8.2

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve image

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve

Category: Beer, Cider & Perry
Sub category: Ale (top fermented beer)
alc./vol: 5

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