In Ohio, talk of Christmas ales and winter warmers tends to be dominated by Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, which is undeniably a holiday mainstay. I can't help but get excited when I see those black boxes with the photo of the model train filled with red ornaments. But let's not forget the local brews that signify season's greetings, with all their spicy, malty goodness.

Christmastime is here.

Christmastime's for beer.

I love the news

That local brews

Get spiced this time each year.

In Ohio, talk of Christmas ales and winter warmers tends to be dominated by Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, which is undeniably a holiday mainstay. I can't help but get excited when I see those black boxes with the photo of the model train filled with red ornaments. But let's not forget the local brews that signify season's greetings, with all their spicy, malty goodness.

Barley's Brewing Co. | Christmas Ale | 6.6% ABV

Barley's Christmas Ale is a Columbus classic. They've been tapping kegs of it around the holidays since 1993. Their description of it speaks of gathering around to zest oranges, then adding the zests with ginger, cinnamon sticks and organic honey to produce a rich beer. It's become synonymous with the season, right up there with a glass of eggnog, and it's a special treat if you can find a cask of it flavored with vanilla bean.

Staas Brewing Co. | Flying Fatman | 7% ABV

This Delaware brewery's Christmas ale takes its name from a tradition in Donald Staas' childhood, in which his parents reminded him Christmas Eve that "the Fatman flies tonight!" Their holiday brew leans toward the sweet side, playing on a mix of fresh ginger, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and honey.

Seventh Son | Glad Tidings | 7% ABV

Seventh Son shows us the fun in spicy Christmas ales. Glad Tidings mixes the usual suspects - ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and clove - with coriander, a housemade orange-rind syrup, fresh orange and fresh ginger for a zesty and aromatic holiday brew.

Zauber Brewing Co. | Holiday Ale | 8.7% ABV

Zauber brings the familiar spicy sweetness of Christmas ales without actually brewing a Christmas ale. They leave out the ginger, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon altogether. Instead, their Holiday Ale is a Belgian dark strong ale, relying on a malty backbone, a balance of hops and the yeast's character to provide the familiar warm and spicy feel of a Christmas beer.

Smokehouse Brewing | St. Nick's Winter Warmer | 11.6% ABV

Butting up against Ohio's current 12% ABV limit, St. Nick is sure to keep the holiday cheer flowing. The brew plies your nose with a boozy bouquet, preparing you for a beer that balances its sweetness with a bourbon-y sting. It's best used for keeping warm on a cold night, or to get through stressful family gatherings.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus." He's a regular contributor to Columbus Crave, and leads breakfast tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.