For Colorado beer drinkers, there’s no better time of year than the weeks between Halloween and Christmas, because that’s when local breweries load up their sleighs full of big, rich beers and gift them to all of us, regardless of whether we’ve been naughty or nice.
While 2022 has seen fewer big (and expensive) releases thanks to belt tightening after a brutal two years of pandemic and inflation-related woes, there are still plenty of delicious offerings to unwrap, including new ones from the likes of Ska, New Belgium and Great Divide.
Here are 10 that should put you in the mood for some fa-la-la.
Great Divide Brewing Gingerbread Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Divide has added to its already extensive lineup of seasonally flavored Yetis by canning Gingerbread Yeti for the first time. Made with a blend of holiday spices, honey and vanilla, the 9.5% ABV beer is backed by the brewery’s classic roasty imperial stout flavors of chocolate malt and coffee. It is on draft and available in 19.2oz cans.
2201 Arapahoe St. and 1812 35th St., Denver; greatdivide.com
Woods Boss Brewing Magical Narwhal Unicorn Candy Cane Stout
Made with nearly 15 pounds of candy canes, this amazingly named beer carries all the chocolate peppermint flavors of the season. Put together as “cheers to our friends, family and beer lovers everywhere,” it “feels like a big, warm hug piled with heaps of candy canes straight from the North Pole,” the brewery said. It’s available on draft and in canned four-packs at the taproom.
2210 California St., Denver; woodsbossbrewing.com
Odd13 Brewing Codename Holidayfan
Brewed with powerfully flavored Citra, Simcoe and Eukuanot hops, Holidayfan is an absolute whopper of a triple IPA, coming in at 10% ABV. It began as a version of the brewery’s flagship Codename: Superfan, but has since taken on a life of its own. The label is one of the few to feature not just Christmas cheer but also Hanukkah happiness and a nod to Festivus.
301 E. Simpson St., Lafayette; odd13brewing.com
Diebolt Brewing Joyeux Noël Spiced Winter Lager
Diebolt Brewing has taken a slightly different approach to this winter warmer. Although it is spiced with sweet orange peel and Ceylon cinnamon sticks, Joyeux Noël was brewed as a lager, which means it has a lighter feel on the palate. The addition of Belgian candi syrup gives it a sweet finish that complements its rich malt bill. It is on draft and available in cans to go. (Oh, and Diebolt also releases Jingle Juice, brewed with three kinds of hops, on Dec. 3.)
3855 Mariposa St., Denver; dieboltbrewing.com
River North Brewery Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Imperial Porter
This fun collaboration is between a century-old Denver stalwart, Hammond’s Candies, and a newer one, River North Brewery, both of which have operations along North Washington Street. Inspired by Hammond’s chocolate cream-filled candy canes, this 12.5% ABV porter will be on tap and in bottles at both River North taprooms starting on Saturday, Dec. 3.
3400 Blake St. and 6021 Washington St., Denver; rivernorthbrewery.com
Sanitas Brewing Nutcracker IPA
Here’s the backstory behind this citrusy, piney IPA, brewed with Talus and Centennial hops: When brewery co-founder Michael Memsic and his wife, Arlynn, found out they were having a second child, their firstborn daughter, Ayla, “was equally excited,” Sanitas said. Since it was around the holidays, Ayla decided to call the child Baby Nutcracker. “A two-year-old running around telling everyone that mom and dad are having a ‘Baby Nutcracker’ became an unforgettable family story, and the family nickname stuck.” Get the beer on draft or in cans to go.
3550 Frontier Ave., Boulder; sanitasbrewing.com
New Belgium Brewing Holiday Ale
New Belgium has delivered a new winter seasonal for 2022 called Holiday Ale. It offers “festive aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg followed by flavors of cranberry, orange and a pinch of brown sugar,” according to the Fort Collins brewery. Coming in at 7.5% ABV, it’s available in six packs.
500 Linden St., Fort Collins; newbelgium.com
Burns Family Artisan Ales Buche de Noel
Burns specializes in brewing high-octane beers, and Buche de Noel, which will be released on Saturday, Dec. 3, is no exception. The 15.6% ABV bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout was designed to taste like the traditional Christmastime chocolate log cakes served in France, Belgium and other countries. Although no flavorings were added to the beer, it carries notes of milky cocoa, dark fruit and vanilla. Buche is an annual tradition for Burns.
2505 W. Second Ave., #Unit 13, Denver; burnsalesdenver.com
Ska Brewing Peppermint Bark Stout
For many years, Ska Brewing has blessed Colorado with its winter seasonal, Euphoria Pale Ale, a classically bitter hop bomb that stood out among a sea of stouts. This year, the Durango brewery has added a new holiday beer, Peppermint Bark Stout, a sweet and creamy milk stout brewed with Animas Chocolate Co.’s artisan Peppermint Bark. The bark is made with dark chocolate, white chocolate and candy cane pieces, all of which have been absorbed into this pepperminty beer. You can find it in canned four-packs around the state.
225 Girard St.; Durango; skabrewing.com
Upslope Brewing Wild Christmas Ale
One of the most anticipated and unusual releases of the holidays is Upslope’s Wild Christmas Ale, which is soured with wild yeast and bacteria and infused with a different fruit or spice each year. This time around, the Boulder brewery aged it on Brazilian amburana wood to give it notes of gingerbread and vanilla. Wild Christmas Ale debuts on Tuesday, Dec. 6, on tap and in 19.2-ounce cans.
1898 S. Flatiron Court and 1501 Lee Hill Road, Boulder; upslopebrewing.com
Subscribe to our new food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox.