Joy in a Glass
The Cleveland holiday beers you have to try
By Adam Sockel
It's no secret that winters in Cleveland aren't for the faint of heart. We proudly endure feet of snow and biting cold with a smile on our face for what feels like six months. What helps keep us so chipper on those blustery days? Well the fact that you can get some of the best holiday beer in the country right in our backyard doesn't hurt. Here are just a few of the most delicious winter warming ales you'll find in the Cleveland area:
Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Company
This is the Christmas beer that in many people's minds put Cleveland beer on the map. The strong ale (7.5% at minimum) is loaded with holiday spices and honey and is best served from a tap with a glass rim of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Esther, Platform Beer Co.
It seems all Platform does since it opened in 2014 is make ridiculously great beer. Esther is more of the same. This Belgian style Christmas ale is loaded with cherries and plums and might be my favorite thing about winter, period.
Holly Jolly Christmas Ale, Fat Head's Brewery and Saloon
Speaking of places that don't know how to make bad beer, Fat Heads Brewery's Holly Jolly is another sweet treat filled to the brim with cinnamon, ginger and honey. If you're more of a Belgian fan, they have the amazingly named Pimp My Sleigh as well. Loaded with dark fruit flavors like figs, anise and raisins, this ale packs a 10.5% ABV punch, so have a designated (sleigh) driver.
Festivus Ale, Market Garden Brewery & Distillery
Named for the classic Seinfeld episode, Festivus Ale is an outstanding beverage with notes of allspice, ginger and happiness. You don't even need to complete any Feats of Strength to get to enjoy it, so you're in luck! Airing of Grievances is optional.
12 Dogs of Christmas, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
A family favorite of mine (and not just because I have two pups), 12 Dogs is brewed with caramel malts, honey, cinnamon and ginger and will be in our fridge from now until the New Year.
Frosted Frog, Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Like sugar plum fairies dancing across your tongue, Frosted Frog is a bit sweeter and is a really great dessert beer. As with most holiday ales, it has a kick (a warming 8.6% ABV) and a syrupy delicious finish of gingerbread and cinnamon.
For more on celebrating the holidays in Cleveland like festive events, winter restaurants and outdoor adventures click here.