Eater DC checked in with nine local breweries to see what D.C. drinkers need to try this holiday season. Here's the seasonal local winter brew cheat-sheet.
Atlas Brew Works: The brewery's winter seasonal is Saison Des Fêtes, which balances spicy French Hops, European malt and Belgian Yeast.
Bluejacket: On tap at Bluejacket, find a Cherry Chicory Strong Ale that is geared toward the winter months. It's brewed with whole cherries, chicory and seven malts to give the ale a full-bodied richness.
Bluejacket is also offering a rare pack of their first-ever Barrel-Aged Brews. This is the first opportunity to try the brews, which are on the shelves at Bluejacket at Navy Yard and the Navy Yard location of Buzz Bakery for pick-up as of noon today. The limited-edition Bluejacket Barrel-Aged 4 Pack retails for $75 and includes a 750 ML bottle of the following:
Maple Syrup-Soaked Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Figure 8: a strong ale with figs and spices aged 12 months in Catoctin Creek Rye whiskey oak barrels previously used to mature Langdon Wood Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup.
Jim Beam Bourbon Barrel-Aged The Wake: an Imperial Stout aged nine months in Bourbon Oak barrels.
James E. Pepper 1776 Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged The Betty: Strong ale with apples and spices aged 12 months in rye whiskey oak barrels.
James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon Barrel-Aged High Society: Barleywine aged 12 months in bourbon oak barrels.
DC Brau: For this holiday season, DC Brau released Alpha Domina Mellis II (8.5%ABV), a very hoppy double IPA that incorporates Citra, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Columbus and Mosaic hops, plus 120 pounds of wildflower honey from Burnside Farms in Haymarket, Va. According to DC Brau, the beer is peach-like in color and light and crisp, featuring a distinctive tropical/pineapple nose with a hint of "breadiness."
Flying Dog Brewery: The Frederick-based brewery offers K-9 Winter Ale, Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout and Brewhouse Rarities Doppelbock. K-9 and Kujo are annual seasonal beers. As for Doppelbock, it's a one-time release as part of Flying Dog Brewery's Brewhouse Rarities series. It's a program where beer concepts can be pitched by anyone on staff, from accounting to packaging to marketing, and then the brewmaster and team chooses a favorite pitch.
Heavy Seas: Try Heavy Seas seasonal winter beer, Heavy Seas Winter Storm Imperial Extra Special Bitter, on draft in Rosslyn. Heavy Seas will also tap Yule Tide, an Imperial Red aged for six weeks in Jamaican rum bottles.
Port City: The very festively-named Tidings Ale at this Alexandria brewery is a strong Belgian style blond ale is brewed with local Maryland wildflower honey and Virginia wheat. Tidings Ale incorporates spices like coriander, cardamom, fresh ginger and grains of paradise.
Mad Fox Brewing Company: Try Festivus Ale, Mad Fox's winter beer (5.6%ABV). The English-style robust beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. P.S. Mad Fox Brewing Company is hosting a Festivus event with half-price growler fills on December 23, and also hosting a holiday beer tasting on December 18.
3 Stars Brewing Company: Try 3 Star's Nectar of the Bogs Cranberry Saison (5.2% ABV) an easy-drinking seasonal saison that the brewing company conditions on freshly chopped cranberries. Or go for the Madness Winter Warmer (12.4% ABV), with notes of dried fruit, raisins and dates. As Dave Coleman from 3 Stars puts it, "This is the perfect beer for mass texting, family get togethers and ugly sweater parties, because face it, at 12.4% of deliciousness, who's gonna care about anything."Updated: Denizens Brewing Co: Notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, and toffee flavor Denizens’ Shirtless Horseman (9% ABV), a Russian Imperial Stout that uses ten different malts in its recipe.