Best winter beers 2022 to toast any festive celebration

Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale, photo provided by Breckenridge Brewery
Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale, photo provided by Breckenridge Brewery /

Whether snow covers the ground or there is just a slight chill to the air, the best winter beers are waiting to be opened this holiday season. Although the light lagers and the hoppy IPAs capture the vibrant, summer festivities, the end of the year is more about cozy, quiet moments that deserve a little extra contemplation. These best winter beers are meant to sip, savor, and satisfy in a heartier way.

Sometimes winter beers are called winter warmers. From that imperial stout to a robust ale, the heartier flavors mimic the same qualities often found in cooler weather food trends. These beers have complexity, sometimes feature spices, and can have a higher ABV.

From special annual releases to newer offerings, many popular beer brands rollout a special winter or Christmas offering. Even if some people tend to grab that wheat beer during the summer or have a light beer for football watching, these best winter beers should not be dismissed for the party bin grab bag.

Guinness Old Fashioned Inspired Ale winter beers
Guinness Old Fashioned Inspired Ale, photo provided by Guinness /

Here are some of the best winter beers 2022.

Guinness Old Fashioned Inspired Ale

While the traditional Guinness has convinced many people that its beer is not has heavy as the color seems, this particular holiday offering brings a nod to Irish hospitality.

Although the Old Fashioned in the name might assume a quaint Irish village from a holiday movie, the reference is to the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. Aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels, the ale has notes of orange and cherry, just like the bourbon cocktail would offer.

Coming in at a 10.8% ABV, it is big but not too overwhelming. Served either at the beginning of the meal or as the final sipper, this beer is one that will have everyone toasting to another festive holiday.

New Beligum holiday ale winter beers
New Belgium Holiday Ale, photo provided by New Belgium /

New Belgium Holiday Ale

While the oven might deliver the sweet aromas of cookies studded with fruit and nuts, the New Belgium Holiday Ale brings all the comforting flavors without having to step into the kitchen. With warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg bringing the comforting vibes, this beer is perfect for snuggling on the couch and watching that favorite holiday movie.

Add to the mix some bright citrus and tart cranberry, the winter beer has some zesty qualities. While delightful on its own, it can go with a variety of holiday foods. From that flavorful roast to a plate of holiday cookies, there are plenty of excuses to open a second can.

Elysian Bifrost

Returning for another winter season, Elysian Bifrost brings a touch of sweetness with the brands hop forward flare. The golden color dances by the light of the fire, while the citrus flavors add a punch of zesty notes. As the sweet caramel notes and hint of spice feel familiar, the Elysian Bifrost adds some vigor to that otherwise cold, wintry day.

Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale

A holiday tradition that evolves every year, the Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale for 2022 takes the rye forward ale and adds some notes of orange, honeysuckle, toasted malts, and eucalyptus. Combining together those flavors with spice notes and robust hops, it is always a holiday favorite.

Plus, each Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale supports One Tree Planted. This charity helps to support global reforestation. Given that each year has a special tree on the bottle, it is a lovely nod to tradition while giving back.

2022 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2022, photo provided by Goose Island /

Goose Island Beer Co Bourbon County Stout 2022

Always a holiday classic, this year’s Goose Island Beer Co Bourbon County Stout celebrates the 30 year tradition and takes a journey down Bourbon Row. With bourbon barrels sourced from greats like Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace distilleries, the flavors of those well-crafted spirits impart their flavor into the stout. From vanilla and toffee to hints of molasses and dried fruit, the classic Bourbon County Stout is always a great choice.

Dogfish Head Crimson Cru

A unique collaboration with Belgium’s Browerji Rodenbach, this special beer launched in October might not be a traditional winter beer, but it is one that should be enjoyed before the year ends. The Crimson Cru takes Rodenbach’s Grand Cru and blends it with an off-centered red ale from Dogfish Head. The combination of traditional Belgium beer and creativity from Dogfish Head cannot be matched by any other brewery.

The beer’s flavor is definitely full-bodied without becoming overwhelming. From the sumac to the sweet orange peel for nuanced flavor to the intriguing Hallertau Blanc hops for body, this red ale is slightly mysterious like a great holiday story. Warm on first sip yet enticing with sweetness, it is like an unexpected gift that is a favorite to enjoy long after the gift giving excitement has faded from view.

winter beers Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale
Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale, photo provided by Breckenridge Brewery /

Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale

One of the classic winter beers, the Breckenridge Brewery is full of warm, comforting roasted malts. With some chocolatey notes and a touch of caramel sweetness, this beer is far better than a hot chocolate after that sleigh ride. It might be one of the reasons why it is featured at the Gaylord Palms Snow Bar.

Karbach Brewing Co. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

While that classic Christmas movie might be on repeat during the holiday season, this whimsical offering from Karbach Brewing Co is a seasonal red ale that is worthy of taking that triple dog dare sip. With a slight citrus twist with the sweet caramel, the flavor is a little unexpected but definitely is a straight shooter for holiday fun.

Wicked Weed Brewing Company Dr. Dank Jack Frost

Although one Jack Frost might nip at your nose in that classic tune, this winter beer might be even more intense. The West Coast Double IPA feels like that Christmas tree wants to join the beer conversation. With some citrus thrown into the mix, it takes some careful sipping to discover the sometimes overlooked honey. After that first sip, there is plenty more than feels delightful.

Sam Adams Old Fezziwg

Always a favorite during the holiday season, Sam Adams Old Fezziwig is the beer to enjoy when everyone else has that holiday cookie and cocoa. With toffee, caramel and chocolate flavors, the beer is like an old friend that just hits the right note during the holiday season.

Devil’s Backbone Holiday Vienna Lager Variety Pack

While have just one beer when you can have a couple/ This specialty holiday offering, in conjunction with Awkward Family Photos, offers three “flavor spins” on the classic Vienna Lager. They are Oatmeal Cookie Vienna Lager, Apple Pie Vienna Lager and Vanilla Latte Vienna Lager. Sometimes options can keep those awkward moments a little less noticeable.

The best winter beers are waiting to be enjoyed. While the snow might still fall when the calendar turns, these beers need to be unwrapped before the Christmas lights are a distant memory.