Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and posts that don’t just focus on one beer here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…
Here I come a wassailing a wassailing with another six pack holiday feature, this time on Christmas/Winter Holiday beers.
Christmas and the Yuletide season is a time for celebration and family gatherings. It is a time for a specific kind of beer, often with some kind of spice, maybe a big stout, or maybe something with fruits or nuts in the mix. I’ll tell you, having put together a Christmas Six Pack every year since 2017, it is becoming a little more challenging each year to craft a diverse six pack of beers that hasn’t been covered in some form here at the Tap Takeover in the past.
Of course, I haven’t helped myself with whittling the field by doing 12 Beers of Christmas a couple of times (2018 part 1, 2018 part 2, 2017 Christmas Beers of Past, 2017 Christmas Beers of Future), thus removing two posts from the future. Be that as it may, there tends to be a good mix of holiday mainstays each year along with new holiday beers, which is how this pack came into being. As usual, I tried to balance NJ beers with beers that are nationally distributed or at least with large regional distribution footprints.
On to the Six Pack!
Alpha Klaus (Porter – American) | 3 Floyds Brewing | Munster, IN | 7.3% ABV
3 Floyds is one of the great midwestern breweries, they brew largely hop-forward/hop-aggressive beers. Like many breweries, they offer a seasonal spate of beers, including this Christmas Porter.
What 3 Floyds Brewing says about the beer:
Alpha King’s festive cousin. A big American Xmas Porter brewed with English chocolate malt, Mexican sugar and, of course, tons of strange American hops…
Blue Christmas (Sour – Fruited Gose) | Brix City Brewing | Little Ferry, NJ | 5.5% ABV
I’ve included lighter ABV beers in my Christmas posts previously and this one can work, too. Blue Christmas is a very popular Christmas song and the fine folks at Brix City have played off of that with this holiday-inspired Gose!.
What Brix City Brewing says about the beer:
We hope your white Christmas brings you cheer, but if you’re like us you don’t mind a little Blue Christmas… Blue Christmas is our holiday Gose brewed with both Lactose & Fleur De Sel and conditioned on a ton of fresh Spruce Tips & Blueberry Purée.
Notes of blueberry pie filling and jelly donuts with a touch of fresh spruce in the finish.
Brudolph (Stout – Imperial Double / Milk) | Ludlam Island Brewing | Ocean View, NJ | 10% ABV
Ludlam Island brews a “Brudolph” every year, or has for the last few years at least. The recipe and beer changes slightly with each incarnation, this year’s (2022) seems to evoke oatmeal raisin cookies. I’ve only had one beer from the South Jersey brewery (their Helles Lager) since they increased their distribution footprint, so perhaps this one will show up near me before Rudolph makes his annual journey leading Santa’s sleigh.
What Ludlam Island Brewery s says about the beer:
This year’s holiday offering is our thick milk stout loaded with heaps of oats, raisins, and just the right amount of cinnamon reminding us of baking with our grandmoms right around the holidays!
Santa’s Little Helper (Stout – Imperial/Double) | Port Brewing Co. | Philadelphia, PA | 10% ABV
For a few years, I was getting this stout around Christmastime, the years before I was on untappd, and just after I joined. I haven’t seen it lately, but I remember loving this big, boozy stout. Port Brewing also brews and distributes a barrel-aged version, which I had about a decade ago and that one is even more elusive these days since I’m not sure if Port Brewing is still distributing into New Jersey. Regardless, if you see either the standard or barrel-aged version, grab it.
What Port Brewing says about the beer:
Santa knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. This is one seriously naughty but nice beer.
Santa’s Little Helper, our Imperial Stout, starts with an emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee aromatics. The finish lends hints of sweet crystal malt, warming tones of alcohol and a touch of hops, making a perfect accompaniment to leftover fruit cake and sugar cookies.
Cherished Festive Brown Ale (Spiced / Herbed Beer) | Spellbound Brewing | Mount Laurel, NJ | 7.1% ABV
Spellbound brewed an “Oatmeal Raisin Cookie” Brown ale for years. They’ve recently undergone a slight rebranding and I suspect this is the replacement beer. Regardless, I’d wanted to try their Oatmeal Raisin Cookie for a few years and this one looks quite tasty, too.
Spellbound Brewing says this about the beer:
A fall/winter spiced ale with notes of cinnamon, raisin, oats, clove and malt.
We call it Cherished because it is released for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays. Some of our most cherished days of the year.
Shiner Holiday Cheer (Wheat Beer – Dunkelweizen) | Shiner / Spoetzl Brewery | Shiner, TX | 5.4% ABV
Shiner is one of the more widely distributed beer brands in the country. I’ve been seeing this beer in the stores for years, but never pulled the trigger on it. Although pecans are quite popular (part of why I’m including the beer here), I’m a little hit or miss with them. Nonetheless, I would like to try this beer at some point
What Spoetzl/Shiner says about the beer:
A Bavarian-style Dark Wheat Ale, Dunkelweizen, brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The malty flavors are enhanced through the use of malted barley and wheat. And Kräusening ensures a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all more satisfying.
That’s another Christmas Six Pack in the proverbial Yuletide fridge. Any particular beers you’re looking forward to trying or enjoy during the Yuletide season?