Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Joe Sixpack picks his top 10 Christmas beers on NPR today

By William Brand
Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 12:15 pm in Uncategorized.

Don Russell, author of Christmas Beer

Don Russell, author of Christmas Beer

Don Russell, who writes the Joe Sixpack column in the Philadelphia Daily News, and whose latest book is Wishing You A Merry Christmas Beer,  picks his top 10 Christmas beers today on NPR. Follow this link and click on “listen” to hear the interview. And it’s Christmas Eve, need a book for yourself – buy his book. It’s absolutely excellent

Here’s Don’s top 10:

  • Smuttynose Winter Ale (New Hampshire), a sweet dark beer with notes of cherry and chocolate. Pair with snapper soup.
  • Stille Nacht (Belgium), a sweet, very strong pale ale. Pair with a washed-rind cheese such as Limburger.
  • Troegs Mad Elf (Pennsylvania), a strong dark ale brewed with cherries and honey. Pair with bacon quiche.
  • Mahr’s Christmas Bock (Germany), a classic, malty Bavarian bock. Pair with a sausage plate.
  • Anchor Our Special Ale (California), a spiced winter warmer with a spruce aroma. Pair with cranberry salad.
  • Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome (England), a classic unspiced winter warmer with mellow roasted malt. Pair with roasted turkey.
  • Anderson Valley Winter Solstice (California), a spiced winter warmer with warming vanilla notes. Pair with pumpkin pie.
  • Baladin Noel (Italy), a Belgian-style strong dark ale with a vibrant, spicy yeast character. Pair with those red-and-green-wrapped Hershey kisses.
  • Samichlaus (Austria), a smooth, brandylike triple bock. Pair with a cigar next to the fireplace.
  • Gouden Carolus Noel (Belgium), a strong dark ale spiced with herbs. Pair with salted pecans.

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  • Stuart

    I don’t understand how a Christmas beer book would last–don’t many companies change their recipes from year to year?

  • William Brand

    Sure, brewers make changes. But mostly, if they have a winner, they simply tweak the recipe and the book has lots of good info about the history of each beer, how it’s made, etc. It’s a fun read, even if you never get to taste the beer…and once you do get a chance to taste something new, it’s a reference point.

  • craig

    troegs mad elf sounds promising…to bad i’ll never get to try it….

  • William Brand

    ( got to try it in Denver at GABF — the brewers of Philadelphia had a special open house at a local tavern. It was excellent. But then, there are lots of excellent, strong beers out there. A beer of a similar type that leaps to mind is Stone 12th anniversary.

  • easong

    The guest tap at Triple Rock is Valley Brewing Barleywine. Yum. Be sure to wash it down with an IPAX.

    While in Berkeley, as always I swung by Ledger’s to see what’s new. Found a large stock of Port products, loaded up on High Tide fresh hop IPA. I’m having one now, in fact — it’s a citrus hop wonder.

  • craig

    had two new beers(4 me)over christmas…”green flash barley wine”…good…but way over the top…they had it on tap at “aj’s” in concord on clayton road (just past treat)…i also tried “alaskian holiday beer”..i really enjoyed it and will get more before it is all gone…enjoy the holidays!