We've just made it past pumpkin ale season (although who's to argue it isn't still going?) and now 'tis the season for beers that are warm and malty and spicy: Christmas ales! Great Lakes Christmas Ale, with its ornament-filled train car label, is ubiquitous on store shelves. There's no denying the brew's staying power, but if you're looking to celebrate the holidays with a beer, look no further than these five.

We've just made it past pumpkin ale season (although who's to argue it isn't still going?) and now 'tis the season for beers that are warm and malty and spicy: Christmas ales! Great Lakes Christmas Ale, with its ornament-filled train car label, is ubiquitous on store shelves. There's no denying the brew's staying power, but if you're looking to celebrate the holidays with a beer, look no further than these five.

Zauber Brewing

Holiday Ale

Rather than brewing the typical spicy Christmas ale, Zauber stays true to their own DNA and crafts a beer using a Belgian strong ale as a base. It has all the flavor of a traditional Christmas brew, but it's built around the fruity esters and spicy notes of Belgian yeast. Sip it on tap at the brewery itself; for an added bonus, they've released a version aged in whiskey barrels (which won't last long).

Pigskin Brewing

Victorie Noel

Pigskin's newest brew debuts this week at their Gahanna brewpub. Similar to Zauber, the Pigskin crew has created a seasonally appropriate beer that's based on a different style than the traditional winter warmer. They're developing the spice and warmth of a holiday beer on the base of a Belgian quad, with its fruit-forward profile.

Rhinegeist Brewery

Dad

Clad in bright plaid just like your father might wear over the holidays, Rhinegeist's Dad has been widely distributed in cans around town, making it an easy pick for bringing a six-pack to parties this season. This red ale is described as a "hoppy holiday ale" and balances caramel malts with a spicy and citrusy hop presence.

Sideswipe Brewing

Defaced

Sideswipe's newest offering isn't technically a holiday beer, but since it's just been released, we'll count it! Defaced is big, bold and balanced, an imperial red ale that plays with toasted malts and a decent hop presence. The 9% ABV brew is being released in 22-ounce bombers like Sideswipe's other regular brews. Look for bottles in stores, or take the opportunity to visit the brewery's updated taproom on Scioto Harper Drive.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Rosy Cheeks

WRB's contribution to the winter warmer line-up is a strong brown ale crafted with all the favorite seasonal spices like dark Belgian candi sugar, orange peel and cranberry. Enjoy Rosy Cheeks with dinner at the restaurant this weekend, or relax in the taproom with a snifter of it.