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Local Life

Seasonal cheers with holiday beers

Local breweries add orange, gingerbread, spices and other flavors


The holidays are a time to gather together with friends, family, co-workers and other near and dear ones.

And to make that time a little more delicious, and possibly more bearable, many local breweries produce holiday and winter brews specifically for the season.

“The great thing about beer is how it brings people together. More than any other time of year, the holidays bring together family and friends in celebration time and time again,” explained Todd Usry, president and brewmaster at Breckenridge Brewery, headquartered in Littleton. “Seasonals allow us to get creative using ingredients that are common that time of year, introduce styles that have historic relevance to the time of year, or brew a beer that has flavors that reflect the emotions of the season.”

At Breckenridge, they offer a Christmas Ale, the Holidale which is a variation of the Christmas Ale that has rested in whiskey barrels, and a Nitro Chocolate Orange Stout, while at Arvada’s Odyssey Beerwerks, they offer Oh Snap!, a spiced winter ale that includes winter cookie spicing and sweet orange peel.

“We want our holiday brews to be fun, but not too over the top. As always, the primary goal is to make a high-quality beer,” said Chris Hill, who runs Arvada’s Odyssey Beerwerks with Deana, his wife. “We often tell people that ‘dark is a color, not a flavor’ so don’t be afraid of dark beers — especially this one.”

The Lone Tree Brewing Company adds a little fruit and gingerbread to its holiday beers, said Josh West, head brewer at the company. It also makes a Horchata Stout right before Christmas.

“Our goal is for the beers to not only be consumable independently but also pair well with food when the beer is released,” he added. “We try to think of what types of beer will pair well with the season and create recipes based on popular seasonal flavors.”

As with the holiday season, the beers aren’t around for long. Most can be purchased through December, but some of the winter recipes go through January.

“Like most things in life, when people are happy, everything is more enjoyable. The holidays offer a great time for people to sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment,” Hill said. “Who wouldn’t want a great beer to be a part of that picture?”


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