With each season, we all tend to find ourselves looking for new flavors to indulge in from different foods even down to what we're drinking. Often, making small changes like this help us feel one with the season and grasp the true vibes of it as well. For the Spring and Summer, cool and refreshing food and drinks are on our radar, and for the Fall and WInter, more savory and cozy flavors to bring comfort during the colder weather are all anyone wants. With so many different drink options both for the alcohol and IPA lovers and those of us that do not drink, where do you even begin? What are the perfect drinks to choose for this crisp winter?
Now because I am not of legal drinking age yet nor plan on drinking in my future, I've consulted Chase Large, a Cicerone Certificate Beer Server, to help me compile a list of the holiday and winter beers you should check out this year (and maybe even indulge in next year if they're to your liking). Not to mention, they may even make great gifts for your friends or family, or even those that you're stuck on present-wise. If you don't drink, I also have the perfect list of cozy beverages for you and your friends to enjoy as well.
Credits for the beer list and flavors go out to Chase Large and the individual brewing companies. This list has been compiled thanks to them and descriptions are not fully my own.
The beers to try this holiday season:
Mad Elf - Troegs Independent Brewing
Belgian Strong Dark Ale, a classic for the holidays that you can only grab once a year. A delicious combination of chocolate malt, cherries, honey, peppercorn, what's not to love about this ale. It's all in the name; you might go mad without it, so why not give it a try?
Learn more about this Ale and others offered by Troegs Independent Brewing from their website: https://troegs.com/beer/mad-elf/
Mad Elf Grand Cru - Troegs Independent Brewing
A spin on the Mad Elf Ale that this company is known for, the Mad Elf Grand Cru is also bringing on the holiday cheer with cozy, wintery flavors of tart cherry, brown sugar, clove, and subtle peppercorn to bring home and enjoy this year.
Merry Monkey - Victory Brewing Company
This is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale that's ready to become your new favorite this holiday season. With the use of cranberry, orange peel, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this is just the perfect fruity spice needed for your holiday gatherings (now gone virtual this year). So grab a Merry Monkey, open up Zoom or any other video chatting platform you prefer, and have a happy holiday with your family and a delicious ale by your side.
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome - Samuel Smith
A classic for the holiday season, customers typically wait impatiently for this ale to finally hit the shelves after a long year, this Winter Ale is not to be missed. Made only with water, malted barley, yeast, hops, and carbon dioxide, this ale is a simple crowd-pleaser and perfect for the vegans and vegetarians out there!
Winter Welcome Ale: https://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/shop/bottles/ale/winter-welcome-ale/
Downeast Winter Blend Cider - Downeast
A well-loved winter release, the Downeast Winter Blend features a sweet and warm combination of apple cider, toasted oak, cinnamon, and nutmeg. What's more to love than a nice cider in the winter months, especially from a well-known and loved brand?
Learn more about the Winter Blend Cider and the other ciders offered by Downeast here: https://downeastcider.com/pages/cider
M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) - Thimble Island
Brewed out of Branford, CT Thimble Island is not messing around and created a Russian Imperial Stout that is perfect for both the holidays and the winter season. The roasted malt, caramel, and molasses used here create what is probably an unexpected, yet good taste that will appeal to the masses.
Thimble Island: https://www.thimbleislandbrewery.com/beer/mad-russian-imperial-stout/
Black Chocolate Stout - Brooklyn Brewing
The flavor of this one is all in the name. This stout tastes just like dark chocolate and also has a touch of espresso in there as well. The Black Chocolate Stout may very well be the perfect drink for all of your holiday and wintertime festivities and can also pair very nicely with a lot of your favorite desserts and sweet treats like ice creams and cheesecakes. If this rich drink sounds appealing to you, why not go ahead and give it a try?
Brooklyn Brewing: https://brooklynbrewery.com/brooklyn-beers/limited/black-chocolate-stout/
KBS - Founders Brewing Company
Liked the sound of the last chocolate and espresso stout? This stout from Founders Brewing Company might also be right up your alley as well. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout features the same chocolate and coffee idea as the previous stout while also including vanilla, cocoa, and charred oak.
Founders Brewing Company KBS: https://foundersbrewing.com/our-beer/kbs/
Hop Blizzard - Troegs Independent Brewing
Looking for a citrus note to include this holiday season? Hop Blizzard might be perfect for just that as it includes pineapple, orange rind, and spruce tips to the mixture. Go ahead and give this one a try. No one ever said you couldn't have a drink with some citrus in the wintertime.
More Information on Hop Blizzard and Troegs Independent Brewing: https://troegs.com/beer/blizzard-of-hops/
Now, I haven't forgotten about those of you that do not drink either by choice or because of age. I personally fall into this category so I feel you and I'm here to deliver for you as well! Here are some special holiday and winter drinks for you that will not disappoint:
Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is always a favorite for this time of year and is especially a favorite of mine (I've already had more than I'd like to admit this season), so why not jazz your hot chocolate up a bit this time around? If you're a fan of peppermint, you can either whip up a batch of peppermint bark and add it to your cocoa along with your other favorite toppings such as whipped cream, or you can simply add candy canes or crushed up candy canes to the mix as well. This will add a delicious twist to a nice warm treat you'd probably already be reaching for.
These are always a fun option to try for your holiday festivities and there are so many options for all the different flavor palettes out there! Here are some options for you to try out:
1. Mulled Cranberry Cocktail - This warm cranberry drink will be perfect to warm you right up on a cold winter day spent relaxing and watching movies. Cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cranberry, sugar, and ground cinnamon are all that's required to make this at home. Find the recipe here: https://www.marthastewart.com/339786/mulled-cranbe...
2. Apple Cider Martini - This one only requires a few ingredients and is super easy to create at home as well. All you'll need is apple cider, orange juice, pomegranate juice and a cinnamon stick and all you have to do is combine the ingredients together, pour it into a wine glass (or any glass of choice if you don't want to be too fancy) and add in your cinnamon stick. This sounds so good and like a perfect touch for the holidays.
3. Non-alcoholic Irish Cream Liqueur - Need a little cream in your life? Look no further than the Irish Cream Liqueur. This recipe requires double cream, evaporated milk, maple syrup, espresso, cinnamon, vanilla extract, orange zest, and ice. Add the ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice, drain it, and pour it over ice. Find it here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/non-alcoholic-...
Gingerbread Latte: This sounds like an absolute dream for your tastebuds during the winter. Using ground ginger, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, soft brown sugar, vanilla extract, and whole milk, you can make this delicious recipe at home (I know I will be trying it myself). Another great part about this recipe is that you can even leave the espresso out if you don't want or like the flavor of coffee. Add whipped cream and a gingerbread man to the top and voila, your sweet holiday hug is ready to be enjoyed! Find the recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/gingerbread-latte
Rudolph Punch: I felt the need to include this one solely for the fun and festive vibe it has going on. If you want something festive to sip on at home, this one is super easy to recreate and only requires three ingredients! Are you ready for it? Ginger ale, cranberry juice, and green sanding sugar are all that's required. All you have to do really is mix the ginger ale and cranberry juice together, using half of the glass for each. Find it here: https://ducttapeanddenim.com/rudolph-punch/
Of course, there are plenty more holiday drinks to be found that don't involve alcohol all across the Internet and this list could go on forever. So for now, I'm leaving you with this, but I hope I've inspired you to try something new this year and gave you some delicious ideas to work with. There's so much to try and indulge in when it comes to holiday flavors that there simply isn't any time to waste. So get out there and make something delicious!
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