Beer is always welcome, whether it’s a smoldering Sunday afternoon in August or a chilly December eve. Why should anything change during New Year’s Eve? Granted, it’s the occasion of occasions but there are some great beers out there that can compete with your favorite sparkling wine. And some are so celebratory and effervescent they’re practically bubbly anyway.
By all means, get your holiday cocktail and wine on. Just don’t overlook beer. It’s so often the commoner in drinks land, deemed ill-equipped for more lavish gatherings or the most festive nights out (or in). Well, that all depends on the beer you’re celebrating with, of course.
There are many up to the task, especially from beer-loving Belgium and right here at home. Craft beer is so dominant now that there are stellar offerings available all over the globe, from the cult releases to the macro ones done well.
Here are seven worthy of seeing one year go and another arrive, all in one evening.
The Brut IPA is a style we desperately want to see more of, a beer lover’s beer that really emphasizes the crisp and clean side of a well-made IPA. If there’s a beer that drinks more like a bone-dry Champagne, we don’t know of it. This one from NYC’s Sixpoint is a stunner, a slight twist on the category as it involves some haze. If can’t get a hold of it, look out for other releases within the small but delicious Brut
Much of the attention in this cultish and outstanding California IPA series goes to Pliny the Elder. Yet, the Younger is a force in its own right and wine-like in nature. This is a layered sipper of a triple-
The ubiquitous sushi beer? Of course, and let’s give it the credit it is fully due. One of Japan’s most popular beers is also one of the best, a prime example of how you’re supposed to lager. It’s clean, balanced, and subtly refined. It’s also sessionable, so you can crack one in the afternoon and keep sipping until the ball drops, without fading out.
A real crowd-pleaser, this legendary Belgian brew is appreciated by critics and also so approachable your friends who contend they don’t like beer will change their minds. It’s built for a nice tulip glass, with pleasant aromas and a fruity, personable palate. It also comes in a sparkling wine-like bottle so you can saber it just before midnight.
There’s a theme building here and we’re all about it. Belgian-style beers are among the best for big occasions, as they tend to bring forth wine-like complexity while still being initing and thirst-quenching, like a proper beer. This take from Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing is one of the best made stateside, a beautiful beer full of citrus, spice, bread, and tea-like notes.
So bubbly, so good. This Brut IPA is made with a trio of lighter malts and a hop bill that includes Amarillo, Simcoe, and Hallertau Blanc. The finished product is worthy of your favorite flute or vintage Champagne glass, a tremendously fizzy brew with lemon peel and delicate cracker notes.
What’s more celebratory than an oversized bottle? Not much, not much. This magnum (1.5L) of St Bernardus Abt 12 is guaranteed to start the party in style, a Trappist abbey ale made by monks that’s dark, smooth, and layered. Rich without being cloying, it’s a beer to unwind with, sipping every now and again to see how it changes in the glass.
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