Anchor Christmas Ale 2014
Winter Warmer, ~5.5%
San Francisco, CA
Even though everything about Anchor’s Christmas Ale changes every year -- from the recipe down to the label -- I’ve yet to have one that disappoints. Popping the first one of the season is a little bit like being a kid opening a present on Christmas morning: even though the recipe is a secret, you can expect a festive, slightly spicy winter warmer that is less jarring to the palate than other beers in this style.
DuPont Avec Des Bon Vœux
Abbey Tripel, 9.5%
Tourpes, Leuze-en-Hainaut, Belgium
Originally brewed in very small batches as a gift for loyal customers, “With best wishes” has become a staple for beer geeks come wintertime. It’s a gloriously rich, fruit-forward, spicy, balanced beer. Bottle fermentation adds complexity, but also makes it age-worthy, so you can sit on it until next winter (if you can resist the temptation).
Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale
Naka, Ikabari Prefecture, Japan
Eisbocks are already a very full-bodied style, thanks to their definitive process where water is removed by freezing and concentrating the beer. This rich, flavorful seasonal takes the full-bodied Eisbock style even further, by brewing with five different grains, four types of hops, cinnamon, vanilla beans, orange peel, coriander, and nutmeg.
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Zach Mack is Thrillist's contributing beer writer, the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in NYC, and absolutely nothing else. Follow him @zmack as he works up an appetite for all of these beers while totally not shoveling snow because he doesn't have to do that in NYC.