When I set out to corral a gallery of the best beer labels that display the quintessential winter rite of passage and endless cause of joy and snowy face shots that is sledding, I thought I’d have to wade through legions of options. Particularly when you consider how many winter-themed beer labels adorn the shelves starting in November each year, but there proved to be far fewer sledding themed beers than I thought. So, I dug deep, looking into the past to find labels that had existed for beers that are (sadly?) no longer available, as well as a handful of beers that are still in steady rotation. Is this dearth of sledding graphics an untapped opportunity? Does the fact that sledding is typically the choice winter activity for people below the age-drinking limit have an influence? I’m stumped. But I am ready for the next serious snowfall, so I can sled with my nieces all damn day and enjoy a beer afterwards.
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Ninkasi Sleigh'r Dark Double Alt
This seasonal Alt already made our round-up of the best winter-themed beer labels, so it's a natural here as well. The actual graphic changes each year, but two constants: the wooden sled (or sometimes Santa on his sleigh, which is a kind of sled) and the totally awesome Slayer-influenced font.
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Another throw-back to a different gallery round-up, the labels for Deschute's Jubelale changes each year, and 2014's edition was no exception. The artwork is routinely recruited from Bend, OR-based artists, which is where the brewery was founded.
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Trois Dames Winter Sour
The label for this spicy, lightly sour beer originates from Switzerland's Trois Dames, a place that typically gets more than its fair share of snow. And night sledding sounds like a perfect activity to undertake after tossing back a few of this ale, brewed with ginger and oranges.
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This year's label shows Delirium's iconic pink elephant on ice skates—a tricky activity to try after a few bottles, given its 10% ABV. We'd opt for sledding instead, as a previous label illustrates.
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Alvarado Street Cool Runoffs
For the label and name of Cool Runoffs, Cali-based Alvarado Street looked back to the 1998 Winter Olympic games, when Jamaica fielded a four-man bobsledding team who quickly became a crowd-favorite underdog that later inspired the film Cool Runnings. Ah, simpler times. The double IPA regular rotation beer pours a hazy gold, a mix of traditional West Coast IPA tastes with a bit of fruity New England influences.
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Wasatch Bobsled Nut Brown Ale
Much like the 2002 Winter Olympics hosted in Wasatch Brewery's home town of Park City, Utah, the Bobsled Nut Brown Ale only lives in the past. But given that the city is bidding to host the 2030 games, perhaps this beer will also make a come-back.
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Fort Collins Sled God
Another label that lurks in the past, Fort Collins' Sled God embraces the joy of the…sport?...by depicting the self-proclaimed Sled God mid-flight, one fist in the air. The winter warmer was brewed with brown sugar and coffee, then aged on American oak to create what we can only imagine is the perfect salve for a rowdy day tempting snow and gravity.