12 Beers Of Christmas: A Dozen Denver-Area Brews That Hint At The Holiday

12 Beers Of Christmas: A Dozen Denver-Area Brews That Hint At The Holiday

DENVER (CBS4) - These are some beers with visions of sugar fermentation dancing in their heads.

Whether they’re IPAs with dry, piney finishes or robust warming ales with hints of chocolate and dessert spices, here are one dozen Denver-area beers that offer a nod to the holiday season.

Each day starting Dec. 14 and finishing on Dec. 25, CBSDenver.com will feature one brew that summons the Christmas spirit and generates plenty of goodwill among beer-drinking men and women.

Dec. 16: Gingerbread Man from Strange Craft Beer Company

It’s the beer grandma would’ve have made — if she wasn’t so busy making gingerbread cookies.

Tim Myers’ Gingerbread Man beer at Strange Craft Beer Company is based on his grandmother’s cookie recipe. He substituted the cookie flour for his American brown recipe.

“We spiced it up exactly the way grandma used to, so we always like to say it’s a gingerbread cookie in a glass,” he says.

The beer is based on an English malt and adds a little bit of caramel and very little chocolate for color “to give it that golden brown,” Myers says. “The real showcase is the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.”

He says the only complaint he’s received about Gingerbread Man is that it’s not widely available.

“It’s only available on draft on limited tap counts around town,” Myers says. “Everybody is hollering at us: When are we going to start bottling this?”

Gingerbread Man may be distributed next year at liquor stores as part of Strange’s bomber rotation.

Learn more about Gingerbread Man:

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Dec. 15: Ugly Sweater from Wit’s End Brewing Company

More than two years ago, when Wit’s End Brewing Company owner Scott Witsoe experimented with a winter ale recipe, he noticed the finished product wasn’t the most beautiful.

“It looked like a brownish, murky, milky liquid, which actually wasn’t very attractive,” he says.

But its true beauty lay within, he discovered.

“When I tasted it, I absolutely loved it,” Witsoe says. “I thought, ‘It’s too bad this beer is so ugly because it’s such a good beer.’ And that’s how Ugly Sweater was born.”

Like many winter ales, it offers spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. But Witsoe doesn’t use any spices in his recipe.

“I wanted something that finished a little bit cleaner — spiced beer without actually putting spices in it,” he says. A Belgian yeast fermented at really high temperatures mimics spicy notes.

He uses palm sugar in the boil to give the beer “a nice floral sugar” that “adds almost a bit of a liquid Sugar Daddy to it.”

Learn more about Ugly Sweater:

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Dec. 14: Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Co.

One of the original beers that Great Divide brewed, Hibernation Ale is one of the more celebrated Denver winter beers. It’s been in production for roughly 17 years.

Brewed with a lot of barley and brown malt, the beer pairs well with holiday food, head brewer Ethan Osborne says.

“It gives us this awesome chocolate chip flavor,” he says.

At 8.7 percent ABV, Hibernation Ale is “a larger beer,” Osborne notes. “We consider it a warming ale. A couple of them are definitely going to get you in the right place.”

Learn more about Hibernation Ale:

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