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Celebrate the Holidays With L.A.’s Cheeriest Winter Beers

Oh, the weather outside is… not frightful. But it sure is delightful! As for this holiday season? Well, it’s still 2020.

Despite this garbage fire year and the fact that Los Angeles will not have a white Christmas, that doesn’t mean we can’t fire up the faux fireplaces and reminisce about the good things we do still have. Lucky for us, one of those things is local craft beer.

Plenty of Southland breweries are celebrating the holidays with new beer releases or themed specials. Below are some of our top picks to get you in the spirit this December, snowmen not included.

Los Angeles Ale Works’ Van Yuletide and Scrampus

LAAW has blessed us with not one but two holiday beers this year!

Scrappalicious, named for the brewery cat, has been deemed Scrampus for the most festive season. The hoppy holiday ale rings in at 6% ABV and boasts a glorious amber hue, and it’s packed with notes from some of our favorite trees, pine, spruce and juniper, as well as citrus.

They’ve also got a 7.5% ABV winter warmer on tap called Van Yuletide, complete with notes of honey, candied fruit, and mulled punch. Team these two with an ugly holiday long-sleeved shirt and you’ve got yourself a quarantine party!

8one8 Brewing’s Krampus Belgian Winter Ale

This Valley brewery dropped some of our favorite labels of the holiday season. Awesome illustration? Check! A little creepy? Check! Presents? Hell yeah, check! Brewed similarly to Gravity Hill, 8one8’s Belgian tripel, Krampus kicks it up a notch with its spices: cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. We’re feeling cozy already.

Common Space Brewery’s Space Beer Float (Collaboration with Coolhaus)

The holidays are a time to be with our loved ones, and there’s nothing we love more than chocolate, ice cream, and beer. Pre-orders for the Coolhaus x Common Space Beer Float Package went on sale on Dec. 16, with deliveries hitting the L.A. area on the 18th and 19th. What will you get with this indulgent gift, ringing in at a cool $38? Glad you asked! You’ll nab a four-pack of the Coolhaus Chocolate Molten Cake Ice Cream Beer, either a pint of Coolhaus vanilla ice cream of their three mini dairy-free vanilla cups, a James Carey-designed Common Space x Coolhaus collaboration pint glass, an ice cream scoop, and a face mask. If you can’t have snowflakes, you might as well have ice cream. Not into sugar comas? Common Space has also got a build-your-own holiday crowler pack available for $35; their other holiday-themed gift packages have already sold out.

El Segundo Brewing Co.’s 2020 Christmas Shirt

What goes well with a Hopped LA tee? More shirts, of course! For 2020, Damian Fulton brewed up a delightful print of Santa and his elves, all enjoying some ESBCS beers around a Christmas tree. The olive green hue screams the yuletide season, and if you want to double down on Los Angeles love, there’s plenty of L.A. Showdown (a 6.9% ABV IPA, part of ESBC’s Tone Series) and, of course, Steve Austin’s Broken Skull IPA. Crack one of the latter up with some of your pals all across the country, seeing as many of them can get it in their local stories now.

Transplants Brewing’s 12 Days of Festivus

This Lancaster brewery is throwing a holiday spin on some of their beloved brews. We’ve already been gifted with Spiced Cider Graffic Art (a cider-beer hybrid), Horchata Nog (a holiday version of their horchat-ale), Gingerbread Pronghorn (an imperial stout brewed with gingerbread cookies), and Sugar Plum the Depths of Hell (Helles Lager with plums, plus added nuts, dried fruits, and spices). Just imagine what the next few days will bring!

Eagle Rock Brewery’s All Your Oat

One of our favorite Eagle Rock releases each year is All Your Oat, a smooth drinking hazy holiday IPA. Four-packs and 16-oz. cans dropped on Dec. 16, and this year, we’re especially in it for their description: “There ain’t no snow in them there hills, but you can catch some fresh-outta-the-tank All Your Oat.” Maybe we’ll even go find one of those faux snow machines and spray our cacti white just for the occasion.

Smog City Brewing’s Snugglebug and Cuddlebug

No, these are not holiday-themed beers. Yes, we 100% listed them above because they sound crazy cozy. They also made the list because they come in freakin’ DOUBLE MAGNUM sizes. Drink them now to forget 2020 or cellar them — the choice is yours. In addition to the ‘bugs, there are four other limited beers to choose from: Type-O Negative, Echo Echo Echo, Benny and the Bretts Vol. 1, Benny and the Bretts Vol. 2.

Phantom Carriage Brewery’s 13 Days of Krampus

Phantom Carriage kicked off their holiday season on Dec. 9 with 13 Days of Krampus. For 13 days in a row, Phantom Carriage is releasing cellared wild and sour ales from their collection. In order to nab one of the beers, the last bottles of each available, they must be picked up in the taproom with a purchase of beer, food, or merchandise. Among the rare offerings are Bloodacres, Amarantha, and Voice of Terror.

Tortugo Brewing’s Seymour by the Fire

The turtle-themed brewery spiced up their Seymour kolsch just in time to get toasty. Sitting nice and low at a 3.5% ABV, this glühbier got spiced with apple, cranberry, cinnamon, clove, and star anise, and it can be enjoyed warm or cold. They’ve even got mulling spice packets available upon request, which is pretty adorable, all so you pretend you’re sipping on beers in Germany from the comfort of your own home.

Lincoln Beer Company’s 12 Beers of Christmas

Beer countdowns seem to be the thing to do this year, and who are we to argue? Rather than release one holiday-themed beers, Lincoln wrapped up all 12 of their canned beers, including I Got Nibs (Chocolate Imperial Stout) and Southern Neighbors (Hazy IPA), and boxed them up with two snifters. The package totals $60 and is available for pickup and delivery (Sorry, shipping fans. But there’s no chance this would arrive by Christmas at this point anyway, let’s be honest.)

We know 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but if you’re looking to support local and purchase some goodies for your craft beer buddies, you can’t go wrong with picking up 4-packs or merch from our local breweries. Los Angeles County was hit month after month with stricter restrictions than every other county in the state due to mandates from the Dept. of Public Health, and every bit of support helps.

Let’s raise one to our Southland beer brethren and to you, our loyal readers. From Hopped LA to you and yours, we wish everyone a safe and hoppy holiday season.

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