12 holiday beers to try at metro Phoenix breweries | Phoenix New Times


Holiday cheer and local beer: Warm up this winter with these 12 seasonal craft brews

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Local breweries are tapping seasonal holiday beer.
Add spirit to your holidays with wintry-flavored beers from local craft brewers like O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery.
Add spirit to your holidays with wintry-flavored beers from local craft brewers like O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery. O.H.S.O. Brewery & Distillery
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There are plenty of drinks that evoke the winter season – hot cocoa, mulled wine, Champagne to toast any and all festivities – but it also marks the time of year when breweries go big on flavor and often on alcohol content. These winter tipples will warm you up in more ways than one.

Try these 12 local beers to get a taste of holiday candies and cookies, baking spices and even some whiskey. Because they are seasonal and often limited in supply, we recommend giving the brewery a call or checking their latest tap list or social media posts to ensure each brew is still available.

Tasting Flight at O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery

Multiple locations
No one does the holidays quite like O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery. To get into the holiday spirit, the brewery will host its “12 Beers of Christmas” on Thursday, tapping a variety of holiday ales and winter warmers at its four locations around the Valley. The beers include six brewed by O.H.S.O., such as a Holiday Hefe and a fruited IPA called Four Goldens and a Fruitcake, as well as drafts from other beermakers from around the state, country and the world, such as Noel, a dark strong ale by Belgium brewer Delirium, AleSmith Brewing Co.'s Cranberry Ale and Throne Brewing Co.'s Graham Cracker Molasses Porter. All beers will be served with gingerbread cookies, and will be poured until their gone. Draft lists at each location vary, so check their social media for a full tap list.
click to enlarge Two pints of Roses by the Stairs Brewing sit on a bar top at the central Phoenix brewery.
Roses by the Stairs Brewing has two holiday-flavored beers on tap, a chile coffee stout called Midwest Transplant, and a blonde stout named Drinking Horchata.
Sara Crocker

Midwest Transplant at Roses by the Stairs Brewing

509 W. McDowell Road
The Midwest Transplant by Roses by the Stairs Brewing is a coffee stout that is coming in hot thanks to a blend of chiles de arbol, pasilla and guajillo chiles. The winter sipper is rounded out by molasses, cacao nibs, Madagascar vanilla and a holiday coffee blend from Caffe Vita.

Cousin Eddie’s Winter Warmer at Simple Machine Brewing Co.

701 W. Deer Valley Road, #1
5745 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
We dare you to drink a pint of Cousin Eddie’s Winter Warmer, brewed by Simple Machine Brewing Co., and not start reciting memorable lines from “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,” which gave us the dense, short-robe-wearing namesake. As the style’s name implies, it’s brewed to keep you warm during the winter, and clocks in at 10% ABV.
Two women in matching Huss Brewing sweatshirts hold pints of the brewery's seasonal Christmas Ale.
Huss Brewing Co.'s Christmas Ale gets its gingerbread cookie flavor thanks to a specialty malt.
Huss Brewing Co.

Christmas Ale at Huss Brewing Co.

Multiple locations
Huss Brewing Co.’s Christmas Ale packs in all the holiday spice flavors thanks to the Gingerbread Cookie Malt used in the brew. It imparts flavors of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clover and black pepper – just like the classic Christmas cookie. It's available on draft at Huss's four taprooms around the Valley.

Witcher Warmer at 8-Bit Aleworks

1050 N. Fairway Drive, Building F, #101, Avondale
The gaming-centric Avondale brewery 8-Bit Aleworks will release its winter seasonal, Witcher Warmer, on tap and in cans on Friday. The warmer has notes of dark chocolate, roasted hazelnut and vanilla, taking a nod from Nutella. The brewery is also gearing up for a release of its Mayan Chocolossus, and a Whiskey Del Bac barrel-aged version, on Dec. 21 on draft and in bottles. Mayan Chocolossus is an imperial stout that uses Mexican cinnamon and vanilla, ancho chiles, cacao nibs, annatto powder and local honey.
click to enlarge A bottle of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.'s Sweet Potato Saison is poured into a stemmed glass.
Drawing on holiday drinks, treats and dishes, Sweet Potato Saison is one of three seasonal winter beers made by Arizona Wilderness.
Kyle Ledeboer

Sweet Potato Saison at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.

201 E. Roosevelt St.
721 N. Arizona Ave., Gilbert
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. has several wintry brews on deck, including one that takes inspiration from a holiday staple – sweet potato pie. This mixed-culture beer is made with 500 pounds of Crooked Sky Farms sweet potatoes (which Arizona Wilderness roasts with cinnamon), marshmallow root, Madagascar vanilla beans and a blend of warm baking spices. And, the beer was conditioned with mesquite honey. Also being poured are a mulled cider-inspired Beire de Wassail and a Peanut Brittle Ale.

Kühl Beans Vanilla Coffee Porter at Four Peaks Brewing Co.

1340 E. Eighth St., Tempe
Four Peaks Brewing Co. makes a twist on a coffee porter by using Monsooned Malabar coffee beans. With this process, coffee seeds are exposed to monsoon rain and winds. As a result, the beans swell and lose their acidity, leading to more neutral flavors of baker’s chocolate and earth, according to the brewer. The porter is then infused with Madagascar vanilla beans, adding a bit of cream to this robust coffee beer.
click to enlarge A four-pack of cans of Wren House Brewing Co.'s Sheep's Crossing.
Wren House Brewing Co. is reviving its seasonal doppelbock, Sheep's Crossing.
Wren House Brewing Co.

Sheep’s Crossing Oak-fermented Doppelbock at Wren House Brewing Co.

2125 N. 24th St.
Wren House Brewing Co. has brought back its seasonal strong beer, Sheep’s Crossing. This oak-fermented doppelbock went into bourbon, rye and mead barrels before it was stored in Wren House’s cooler. The brewer added piloncillo – a raw form of cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine, adding toffee flavor and notes of oak.

Flannel Buddies Imperial Stout at Goldwater Brewing Co.

Multiple locations
Flannel Buddies is a collaboration between Goldwater Brewing Co. and Flagstaff’s Dark Sky Brewing Co. This year’s release is big – 13% ABV – and the brewery limits drinkers to two pours or suggests sharing this brew with a buddy. This imperial stout was brewed with Mexican coffee and aged for a year in a Wood Creek Distillers rye whiskey barrel. It’s rested with some of the same coffee it was brewed with, along with roasted cacao nibs from Zak’s Chocolate, roasted cinnamon and maple syrup.
click to enlarge A pint and can of Candy Cane White Chocolate Ale.
Candy Cane White Chocolate Ale from Sonoran Brewing Co. has subtle mint and not-too-sweet white chocolate notes.
Sonoran Brewing Co.

Candy Cane White Chocolate Ale at PHX Beer Co.

3002 E. Washington St.
8300 Hayden Road, Scottsdale
Sonoran Brewing Co.'s White Chocolate Ale, a lightly sweet, wholly unique wheat beer could arguably make this list in its own right if it wasn't available year-round. Enter the seasonal Candy Cane White Chocolate Ale, which adds a kick from the peppermint stick, to paraphrase Andy Williams. The holiday version of the ale is available on draft at PHX Beer Co.'s two locations (it is the exclusive brewer of Sonoran's beers). You may be able to find cans to-go or at liquor stores around town, but this popular holiday beer is going quickly.

“Pom-a-cran-it!” Fruited Sour Ale at Oro Brewing Co.

210 W. Main St., Mesa
Oro Brewing Co.’s rotating fruited sour, called Sour Child, gets a holiday makeover for “Pom-a-cran-it!” With each iteration of Sour Child, Oro integrates different fruits to complement the base sour beer. This pink brew offers a dose of two seasonal fruit flavors – pomegranate and cranberry.It's available on draft and in cans at the brewery.

click to enlarge SanTan Brewing Co.’s Winter Warmer is served with gingersnap cookies.
SanTan Brewing Co.’s Winter Warmer is served with soft, homemade gingersnap cookies.
SanTan Brewing Co.

Winter Warmer Strong Ale at SanTan Brewing Co.

8 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler
To create its Winter Warmer, SanTan Brewing Co. starts with a traditional English old ale recipe, using caramel and roasted malts for its rich color and flavor. The brewers also add 10 pounds of fresh ginger from Lee Lee International Supermarket and 10 gallons of mesquite honey. When you order it at the brewery, it's served with gingersnap cookies, or you can take some home in a crowler.
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