5 Great Local Craft Beers For The Holidays (Expert Picks)

November 1, 2013 6:28 AM

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(Photo from Slumbrew/Facebook)

(Photo from Slumbrew/Facebook)

Holiday celebrations call for good local brews. With the number of craft breweries in Massachusetts continuing to climb, and many more in neighboring states, there’s really no excuse for not showing up at friends’ or family’s houses with a great local brew to share. Fortunately for you (and us), local craft beer expert, Drink Craft Beer co-founder Jeff Wharton gave us his 5 picks for the holidays that everyone can enjoy.

Note: You can try all of these beers, and 75+ more, at Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest on Friday, November 15 & Saturday, November 16 at Space 57 in downtown Boston! Get your tickets at drinkcraftbeer.com/falltowinterfest.

(Photo from Bantam Cider/Facebook)

(Photo from Bantam Cider/Facebook)

Bantam Cider – Wunderkind

Cambridge, MA
bantamcider.com
ABV: 6%

Now some people may try to say that pumpkins are the choice flavor of autumn… but I’ve got to disagree. Pumpkins are great, and they make for some tasty beer, but this season belongs to apples in my heart! Bantam’s Wunderkind cider is a great, local option. It’s a proprietary blend of apples fermented with a sparkling wine yeast and flower blossom honey. It smells crisp, with a bit or orange aroma from the honey. It’s got the body for a crisp fall day and will be perfect after a day outside picking apples. Plus, it comes in a 22 oz bottle meant for sharing, it’s always nice to have a friend on a cold New England night.

(Photo from Peak Organic/Facebook)

(Photo from Peak Organic/Facebook)

Peak Organic Brewing Co. – Oak Aged Mocha Stout

Portland, ME
www.peakbrewing.com
ABV: 8.4 %

While autumn may mean apples, winter to us means stout! And there’s no better way to amp up the flavors of a stout then to add coffee and chocolate to it… specifically chocolate from Somerville’s Taza Chocolate and coffee from Portland, Maine’s Coffee By Design. I know Valentine’s Day is a ways away, but think ahead and pick some of this one up. It’s smooth, luscious, and will go great with dessert at Thanksgiving if you can’t wait until February.

(Photo from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project)

(Photo from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project)

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project – Our Finest Regards Barleywine

Somerville, MA
www.prettythingsbeertoday.com
ABV: 12.1%

This is one of few the beers I eagerly wait for every year. It’s 12% of rich, malty, beery goodness. If you’ve grown used to the hyper-hoppy American versions of barleywine, this is quite a different animal. An English take on the version, it’s malt forward. A viscous, brown fluid pours like liquid bread. As it warms, you get some mild dark fruit notes, brown sugar and a lot more. This is a sipper that’s meant for two… although I’ve been known to keep it all for myself over the course of a night, it’s that good!

(Photo from Slumbrew/Facebook)

(Photo from Slumbrew/Facebook)

Slumbrew – Attic and Eaves Toasted Brown Ale

Somerville, MA
www.slumbrew.com
ABV: 7.5 %

I’ve given you a few higher alcohol options, time to take it down to something a bit more reasonable at 7.5%…still high, but reasonable, like I said. If you think brown ales are boring, try this one. The folks at Slumbrew use toasted buckwheat, which adds a good bit of nutty complexity. If you want your fall drinking beer, this is it. Pick up a 22 oz bottle and enjoy.

(Photo from Idle Hands)

(Photo from Idle Hands)

Idle Hands Craft Ales – Rosemary for Remembrance

Everett, MA
ABV: 6.3 %
www.idlehandscraftales.com

This is THE beer to get for Thanksgiving dinner! As a Belgian-style ale it’ll naturally go well with your food. On top of that, though, brewer/owner Chris Tkach has added sweet potatoes and rosemary to the beer. This gives it a great, earthy flavor and savory aroma. At 6.3%, you can drink it throughout the big meal and not end up knocked out… but you’ll catch enough of a buzz to tolerate the relatives. Even though it goes great with food, it’s pretty excellent on it’s own, so don’t feel like you have to wait for a special meal.

Drink Craft Beer started in 2006 with the goal of making craft beer more accessible to the masses. Through tasting events and online recommendations of great local brewers, food makers and more, founders Devon and Jeff built a community of people who like “stuff that tastes good.” In 2012 they decided that the growing cadre of New England brewers and craft beer lovers needed a better way to connect, so the Drink Craft Beer festivals were born. They combine great, local beer with delicious, hand-crafted food and a chance to connect personally with the people who make both.

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