Even though your Instagram feed may be chock-full of friends celebrating at over-the-top seasonal pop-up bars, they’re not the only ones getting into the booze-fueled holiday spirit. A number of Chicago’s craft breweries are slipping into their ugly sweaters, draping themselves in garland, and throwing Christmas flavors into a variety of fruity, cake-y, and fruitcake-y beers. Here are five new local holiday brews to seek out.
Ya Filthy Animal (Holiday Sour Ale) from Hopewell Brewing Company and Emporium
Think of sipping on a warm, spicy glass of Glühwein at the Christkindlmarket. Now think of a beer made to taste just like that, minus the hot temperature and the collectible mug. This lightly tart red ale comes packed with mulling spices like cinnamon, orange peel, allspice, and Indonesian long pepper along with black currant and plum purée.
Find it: In cans or on draft at Hopewell Brewing Company, 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square
Three Kings (Double IPA) from Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taquería
Cruz Blanca’s new celebration DIPA is inspired by ponche navideño, Mexican holiday fruit punches. This beer takes three kinds of hops — citra, mandarina and citra cryo — and packs them into a hefty 7.9% ABV beer. It’s finished off with tamarind, guava, and a touch of extra sweetness to round it out.
Find it: In cans or on draft at Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taquería, 904 W. Randolph St., West Loop
Christmas IPA from Goose Island Beer Company
The days of offerings like Mild Winter and the OG Christmas Ale may be gone (for now), as Goose goes old school with its new Christmas IPA by looking to traditional IPA recipes. The beer features a sharp, piney bitterness backed up by a big caramel-laden malt bill.
Find it: In cans or on draft around the city
Breakfast Krampus (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout) from Old Irving Brewing Co.
While Old Irving was winning gold for their hazy IPA at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, their line of barrel-aged stouts was patiently waiting to be unleashed this holiday season. This year’s variants include the return of the chile-spiced Champurrado Krampus, but it’s the brand-new Breakfast Krampus with maple syrup and coffee that’s got us thinking of cracking one on Christmas morning.
Find it: On draft at Old Irving Brewing Co., 4419 W. Montrose Ave., Irving Park
The Other Nog (Peppermint Porter) from Adams Street Brewery
Come for the schnitzel and the history, stay for the peppermint porter. You have to appreciate the audacity of dropping a brewhouse right into the Berghoff, one of Chicago’s most storied restaurants, and one that already had about a century’s worth of brewing history already. Adams Street Brewery is celebrating their first holiday season with this porter. It isn’t aggressively minty, but rather accents the nicely balanced roasty flavors of a traditional porter with a little candy-cane kiss on the finish.
Find it: On draft and in to-go crowlers at Adams Street Brewery, 17 W. Adams St., Loop