Beer: Alternate Christmas ales

  • Photo by Will Shilling
From the November 24, 2011 edition

Holiday parties increase demand for seasonal brews, so a good number of people this week will be trying to grab some Great Lakes Christmas Ale. If you can’t track down a six-pack, don’t worry: The halls of your local carryout are decked with many delightful substitutes.

Here are three to try.

Columbus Brewing Company

Winter Warmer

ABV: 7.5 percent

Start things off with this powerfully aromatic local brew, whose nose explodes with cinnamon and nutmeg. Some might find the scent too strong, but most will appreciate a beer that packs potpourri’s potent punch. Once downing the chestnut-colored ale, you’ll find a noticeable hop bite that accentuates the spiciness.

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

ABV: 8.3 percent

This award-winning liquid comes extremely close to the look, smell and taste of Great Lakes’ sought-after seasonal — and many Columbus drinkers like it better. The Akron brewery’s reddish-brown ale is concocted with honey, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and something known simply as “Santa’s secret recipe.” It’s delicious, smooth, slightly sweet and perfectly spiced.

Breckenridge Brewing Company

Christmas Ale

ABV: 7.4 percent

When Ohio’s trademark winter warmers start tasting too sweet and spicy — yes, you can have too much of a good thing — grab a bottle of this holiday brew made in Colorado. Technically listed as an American strong ale, it’s a more traditional sipper with toasty, hearty malts that will withstand winters in Colorado and Ohio.