There was a time when people complained about Christmas crashing into Thanksgiving, But this was before global capitalism’s Black Friday  (a term that always seemed to me to be a bit odd), and now nearly everyone in the business world wants to dip into the money gravy while its still hot. Holiday beer is no exception. Great Lakes Brewery’s Christmas Ale debuts in Cleveland before my November 1st birthday (another holiday by the way). Holiday beers appear in October, and by November, there is an extraordinary variety available.
Locally, I had a chance to sample two new ones in aluminum cans: MADTREE BREWING’S THUNDERSNOW and RHINEGEIST BREWING’S DAD.
is an outstanding holiday ale, incorporating both Scottish and wassail traditions.
DAD is Rhinegeist’s take on a hoppy red ale, in the tradition of Sierra Nevada Celebration and Widmer Bros. Brrrr… new world style, as they say.
Both of these beers are quite good and totally different, which by the way,  is one of the great things about Holiday Beer. If you do not care for beer brewed with spices, there are plenty of examples of non-wassail. Wiedemann’s Pragerbrau is an easy drinking pure winter lager, expertly made by the Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin. Then of course there are the more familiar suspects: Brooklyn Winter Lager, Breckenridge Christmas Ale,  Great Divide Hibernation Ale etc. And this does not in anyway cover the great Belgium Holiday experience. But that is for another day.  There are plenty of holidays, it has been said, just around the corner. Cheers!


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