So Christmas is over and I am well aware. I have packed up our bacon tree and taken down our bacon-filled stockings. You may find, however, that stores everywhere still have Christmas beers loud and proud, up front and on sale, giving you an opportunity to try some you may have missed for a discounted price.

I used to really look forward to holiday beers. I love all things pine, and holiday beers usually do not disappoint with my aroma and taste of choice. This holiday season, though, I have to admit I haven’t had a really wonderful seasonal brew (with the exception of Troegs Mad Elf, not piney, but let’s all admit, beer lovers everywhere dream about year-round).

Great Lakes Brewing Co. has succeeded in making some very tasty beers (see my Lake Erie Monster review), and their Christmas Ale is a popular selection every holiday season. The beer pours a pretty bronze color, clear with a healthy head that leaves a fragile ring around the glass. The aroma is warm, with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and maybe a little orange peel. It’s very season-appropriate, and even though Christmas is long gone, I’m brought right back to the warmth and comfort of the holidays.

The beer tastes of ginger and brown sugar up front, finishing with a very nice complimentary alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is slightly sticky, with a little welcome carbonation to break up the sweetness. This beer is more drinkable than similar types I’ve had this season, but I’d most-likely be on sweet-overload after 1 or 2.

If you are looking for a beer that adequately encompasses the spices and warmth of Christmas Eve in front of a crackling fire, Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Christmas Ale will not disappoint. It is not the piney-heaven that I am searching for during the holidays, but it’s far superior to other less flavorful, more sickeningly sweet holiday brews. If you see this one out and about, left behind from the holiday beer rush, pick it up without hesitation. You won’t be disappointed, but hey, do you know of any really piney beers out there that I can keep an eye out for?

By Beth Kerr

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