The holiday season is a tribute to excess. We gorge ourselves on a lot of fatty food and we fill up on fruitcake. We make sure to drink copious amounts of wine, enjoy our rum and eggnog, sip a snifter of brandy, or even down a nice cup of Manischewitz. Beer, however, often gets the short shrift during the holidays. Some find it too filling for a post-turkey nightcap; others think that beer should be left at the pub or the frat house. Despite this, there’s a small but growing demand for holiday-themed brews. There are a slew of them coming out of our own local breweries, and some would be a tasty addition to your holiday feast.
We’ve already taken a look at a few local seasonal beers, and the reigning champion is still Great Lakes Winter Ale, which some have described as tasting like sitting beside your fireplace during a snowstorm.
If you’re looking for a lighter, less filling spiced beer to drink after stuffing yourself with turkey, you may want to check out Trafalgar Brewing’s Abbey Belgian Spice Ale. It’s light, smooth, and has a nice mix of citrus and Christmas-y spices. The taste is great, but for some reason the beer smells quite a bit like vomit, which may dissuade you from slowly sipping it with your parents.
A great beer to have with your fruitcake or trifle is Heritage Brewing’s Blackcurrant Rye. We’re not quite sure what a blackcurrant tastes like alone, but after tasting this beer, we think that we’d probably like it. It has a substantial sweet taste, but also has a slight bitterness to it. The fruity flavour makes it almost wine-like, so it’d be a good choice for wine aficionados looking to get into holiday beer drinking.
One beer to stay away from is Old Credit’s Holiday Honey. It tastes like yeast and there’s barely any honey flavour. It’s altogether mediocre—even Lakeport and Labatt make better honey beers than this. Whatever flavour it does have is fleeting. This is an underwhelming, watery brew—avoid it.
We mentioned this beer last time, but pick up some of Windsor-based Walkerville Brewing Company’s Amber Lager while you can—the fantastic brewery declared bankruptcy earlier this week. Let’s hope this isn’t a prophecy of doom for some of our other local brewers—we wouldn’t want to get stuck with Canadian or Coors Light during the holiday.
Photo by ariehsinger from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.