Nov 21, 2023 - Food and Drink

Seven Cleveland Christmas ales to try

Seven cans of Cleveland-area Christmas Ales, arrayed in a half circle.

Breakfast of champions. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

'Tis the season for spiced ales and winter warmers, and we're here to help you choose a six-pack for your upcoming ugly sweater party or holiday bash.

  • Of note: We're not experts, but we've drunk enough beer to know what we like.

How it works: We gathered our lineup of seasonal brews from Giant Eagle and Lucky's Market, each offering a wide assortment of holiday four- and six-packs and build-your-own six-packs, priced by the can.

The lineup:

Collision Bend Eight Crazy Nights Winter Warmer, 8.5% ABV

Fat Head's Pimp My Sleigh Belgian Style Christmas Ale, 10.5% ABV

Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale, 7.5% ABV

Market Garden Brewing Festivus Holiday Ale, 7.5% ABV

Masthead Brewing Co. Robot Santa's Christmas Ale, 7.6% ABV

Saucy Brew Works Three Hos Christmas Ale, 7.5% ABV

Sibling Revelry Christmas Bock, 8.5% ABV

💭 Sam's verdict: Hate to sound like a basic Cleveland bro, but Great Lakes remains the GOAT, the OG Christmas ale against which all others are compared. Of the seven we sampled, it's the only one I would drink multiple cans of.

  • Between the lines: Market Garden's Festivus is a decent simulacrum that, to my palate, tasted a good deal more cinnamon-forward.

The intrigue: I've been disappointed by the beers of Saucy Brew Works over the years, but their Three Hos — a red ale with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon — piqued my tastebuds enough to try it on draft next time I'm there.

💭 Troy's verdict: I'm a Belgian beer drinker, so Pimp My Sleigh was my favorite. It's definitely the one beer I could see myself drinking regularly at a bar.

  • Between the lines: I can see why Great Lakes Christmas Ale has such a following. Of all of them, it had a clear signature taste.

The intrigue: Sibling Revelry's Christmas Bock was interesting. I didn't dislike it as much as I thought it would, but the hint of ginger definitely takes some getting used to.

The bottom line: We guarantee that any of the above options beats waiting in Thanksgiving traffic or arguing with your most annoying relatives.

📬 Let us know: What's your favorite Christmas Ale? Any we missed? Email [email protected].


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