When you’re young, there’s always something special about the Christmas season — a hint of magic in the air, presents, candy and all the adults around you just seemed so damn happy.

When you grow up, you learn why all the adults were so happy – it’s because the holidays bring holiday cheer in the form of really great booze. This time of year demands that a couple of styles of beer make the top of your nice list. — winter warmers and stouts.

While there is no exact definition, winter warmers refer to an old-style, frequently English Ale with wintery spices, such as nutmeg or cloves. But, if winter warmers aren’t your thing, don’t worry, with the cold weather also comes stout season. This style is self-explanatory, but as the temperatures go down, the ABV goes up. Stout Season can and should have a barrel-aged theme.

If you feel too old for a traditional-style advent calendar with a special piece of chocolate each day, we have got a plan for you. Below you will find our 12 Colorado Beers of Christmas – guaranteed to keep you jolly through the holiday season.

1. Isolation Ale

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Odell Brewing Company – 800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins

The Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 6 percent

The Lowdown: This brew is an old-school ale, making it malty but sweet. There are hints of caramel and there is definitely a stronger hop finish. It’s not quite bitter but close making this a winter warmer for those who like hops.

2. Cocoa Porter

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Tommyknocker Brewery – 1401 Miner St., Idaho Springs

The Style: Winter Warmer / Porter

ABV: 5.7 percent

The Lowdown: While the brewery is up in the mountains, this seasonal beer can be found locally in Denver. This porter is light, mildly roast-y and hits the sweet spot with the cocoa porter-honey combination. This winter warmer is for someone looking to dabble without getting too deep into the robust flavors.

3. Accumulation

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: New Belgium Brewing – 500 Linden St., Fort Collins

The Style: Winter Warmer / IPA

ABV: 6.2 percent

The Lowdown: We are using the term winter warmer loosely to include this beer, but we thought it was fair to make sure our hop-loving friends could find something on the list. This IPA is crisp and citrusy – sure to help melt the snow after a long day.

4. Hibernation Ale

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Great Divide Brewing Company – 1812 35th St., Denver

The Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 8.7 percent

The Lowdown: This is also an old-school English ale but it doesn’t have the hop finish. This ale is malty, almost chewy and sweet. The flavors are layered and it’s heavy but not as heavy as a stout. If you are feeling frisky you can try the barrel-aged version (12.4 percent ABV).

5. Snowed In

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Copper Kettle Brewing Company – 1338 Valentina St., Ste 100, Denver

The Style: Barrel-Aged Stout

ABV: 10.1 percent

The Lowdown: This mocha-flavored Oatmeal Stout is dark and luscious without being too heavy. The bourbon is present but it isn’t hot – it comes at you smoothly as you sip. This beer will keep you warm no matter how cold it might get and it will sneak up on you with its strength.

6. Old Jubilation

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Avery Brewing Company – 4910 Nautilus Ct., Boulder

The Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 8.3 percent

The Lowdown: For an ale, this beer is deceptively layered and silky in its mouthfeel. It has hints of chocolate and as it warms darker fruits such a cherry start to appear in the background. Quite frankly, this beer tastes like Christmas in a can.

7. Vanilla Caramel Amber

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Lone Tree Brewing Company – 8222 Park Meadows Dr., Lone Tree

The Style: Winter Warmer / Amber

ABV: 6 percent

The Lowdown: If you are looking for a brew bursting with sweetness that can entice someone to the beer side for the holidays, this is it. It is vanilla forward, light and finishes with caramel which is aided but it’s fizzy carbonated mouthfeel.

8. Form and Function

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Woods Boss Brewing Company – 2210 California St., Denver

The Style: Winter Warmer / Quad

ABV: 12 percent

The Lowdown: We have all heard the old school Christmas songs that talk about figgy pudding, but how many people have anything with figs for Christmas anymore? This Quad will be a tasty Belgian style beer aided by cherries and figs – sure to go with family, chocolate and a good time. Crowlers will be available through Christmas.

9. Imperial Stout

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Loveland Aleworks – 118 W. 4th St., Loveland

The Style: Barrel-Aged Stout

ABV: 10.7 percent

The Lowdown: This Imperial Stout has a lot of flavors going on inside. On the first sip, you will notice how creamy and smooth it is and then the bourbon hits you. It’s not too boozy – during your next sip, you will find hints of vanilla and caramel but more a flavor of caramelization with a hint of oak.

10. Barrel Aged Ten Fidy

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Oskar Blues Brewery – 1800 Pike Rd., Longmont

The Style: Barrel-Aged Stout

ABV: 10.5 percent

The Lowdown: The regular Ten Fidy is what you are looking for in a Stout – dark, creamy, layered and a hint of that toasty, roasty flavor. All of those things are kicked up to another level with the barrel-aging process – the booze flavor is there, but it only enhances what was already so great. It’s harder to find but the cans are still available if you don’t mind a bit of a hunt.

11 & 12. Christmas Ale and Wild Christmas Ale

303 Magazine, Alysia Shoemaker, All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, Odell Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewing, Upslope Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Lone Tree Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing, Avery Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, Tommyknocker Brewery, Woods Boss Brewing, Colorado Craft Beer, Stouts, Barrel-aged Stouts, Winter Warmers, Holiday Beers, Christmas Beers,

Where: Upslope Brewing – 1898 S. Flatiron Ct., Boulder

The Style: Winter Warmers

ABV: Christmas ale 8.2 percent, Wild Christmas Ale 8.7 percent

The Lowdown: Upslope covers all of its bases with the two Christmas beers on its list. The original Christmas Ale is sweet but a bit spicy with hints of something similar to nutmeg or cloves. In the background, darker fruit lingers as well. It alone is a solid offering, but it’s followed by the specialty Wild Christmas Ale. This year, it features black raspberries. This beer pours a dark red almost purple – it’s sour, not tart, but the whiskey keeps it balanced and then add in the explosion, almost gushing flavor of the raspberries. This beer is just plain special.

Whether you crave the old-world flavor of a winter warmer or seek the warmth of a toasty barrel-aged stout the right holiday beer is waiting for you – all you have to do is find it. You can even create your own personal boozy advent calendar. Not to mention, winter warmers and stouts also pair well with chocolate.

All photography by Alysia Shoemaker

One Response

  1. Michael Mac

    So, thoght I’m not a beer drinker – who could package these into a sampler/gift pack and ship to a friend back East ?

    Reply

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