By this point in your annual beer-drinking journey, you should be wholly committed to putting on a solid layer of Holiday weight. Maybe in November, you tried to fight it and cut calories here or there, but it’s December. Abandon all hope ye who enter here. Because we’ve got nothing for you but big, bold seasonal releases in this batch of new beers. Get out your sweatpants, cancel your weekend plans. It’s December. This is drinking weather.
Atlanta’s biggest brewery is releasing a new winter seasonal this December. Part of Sweetwater’s Catch and Release series, Spinnerbait is a Belgian red ale that promises sweet, malty goodness and a bit of spice. Find it on the shelves starting this week until February.
Half Acre Big Hugs
I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the release of this beer, or the release of this new label. Big Hugs the beer is always interesting—its brewed with Chicago’s Dark Matter coffee this year and clocks in at 10% ABV. The label is even more interesting. The art changes every year—the cat having to face a different foe with each iteration—and this year, he seems to have met his match with a…grim reaper?
Deschutes Brewery The Abyss
When I think of big, burly imperial stouts, I think of The Abyss. 11% ABV, 86 IBUs, tons of malty richness, molasses and dark fruits and yes, bourbon and oak—this is an aptly named beer. Deschutes could have also named it “The Nap.” Because that’s what’s going to happen after I drink the bottle that just showed up on my doorstep. Deschutes released the beer on draft in their brewpub in November, but bottles are hitting stores now.
Saint Arnold Icon Red Sorachi Ace Dubbel
No, this isn’t the Sriracha beer you’ve been hearing about. This is a Belgian dubbel using the Sorachi Ace hop strain, which adds a creamy character to the beer as well as an aroma of lemongrass and dill, according to the brewery. Saint Arnold released the beer over Thanksgiving, but the four packs should be hitting the stores now.
Gigantic Massive! Barleywine
Okay, you’re gonna need to be in Portland this weekend to take full advantage of this seasonal release. In addition to the 2014 edition of Massive! Barleywine, Gigantic is releasing 100 cases of the 2013 Massive! Barley Wine that has been aged in bourbon barrels. You can only get them at their brewpub in Portland on December 6. Yep. Because your standard barleywine isn’t awesome enough.
Dry Dock Vanilla Porter
This Vanilla Porter could be Dry Dock’s most popular beer—and for good reason. It’s a porter brewed with a quarter pound of vanilla beans per barrel. Sweet. It’s such a popular beer, that this year, Dry Dock is putting the rich beer into cans. If you’re in Colorado this month, look for it in stores throughout the state beginning this week. As if Coloradans aren’t lucky enough already.
Terrapin French Toasted Wake n Bake
The folks at Terrapin have got to be mad scientists. In yet another incarnation of their popular Wake n Bake imperial stout, Terrapin has added maple syrup notes, fresh coffee, vanilla and cinnamon for a “French toast in a bottle” experience. Somebody please send me pictures if you actually do drink this 9.4% ABV beer for breakfast. Then let me know how productive the rest of your day is.
Beachwood Brewing Eight IPA
Long Beach-based Beachwood Brewing is celebrating eight years of “craft beers and smoked meats” this December. In addition to a big throwdown at their restaurant, Beachwood is releasing a special anniversary IPA with eight different hop strains (Chinook, Warrior, Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Equinox, Azacca, Belma, and Mosaic) for a big imperial IPA that hits 10% ABV. Pick them up in 22 ounce bottles in San Diego starting December 18.
Cigar City Brewing Puppy’s Breath Porter
So, apparently, the breath of a puppy can smell like coffee or chocolate, according to Cigar City. That explains the name, since this porter is packed with roasted malts that create serious coffee and chocolate notes. Who doesn’t like chocolate and coffee? And puppies? Look at that label. So cute. Look for it in 22 oz. bombers this winter.
Founders Big Lushious
Yeah, Founders knows they misspelled “luscious.” It’s clever wordplay. Because this stout, which is part of Founders’ Backstage Series, that’s packed with dark chocolate and raspberries, is lush, and could entice you to become a…well, lush. Get it? I put this beer last on the list because it’s a dessert beer not to be trifled with. It’s unabashedly sweet, and just 7.8% ABV. Find big bottles throughout the Holidays, and see if you can drink just one.