Looking at the shelves this season, it occurs to me that Christmas beer must’ve been invented by atheists.
Only non-believers completely lacking in dogma could embrace this anything-goes style of beer, a style that not only irreligiously rejects the confines of formal classification but whose original purpose was nothing less than the blasphemous inebriation of partakers on the otherwise solemn occasion of Christ’s birth.
Just take a look at some of the bottles who take the Christmas name in vain.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale is made with honey.
Schlafly Christmas Ale is made with juniper berries.
Blue & Gray Christmas Cranberry is made with, yup, cranberries.
Moylan’s White Christmas is made with rye and wheat.
And Bristol Brewing Christmas Ale is made with just about everything in your mother’s spice cabinet.
Anchor has proclaimed “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year” with tree branches and licorice.
And forget about Abita—it changes the recipe for its Christmas Ale every year.
Van den Bossche Father Christmas is corked. Sly Fox Christmas Ale comes in a can.
Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale is an ESB, Goose Island’s is a brown ale. Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Xmas is a porter. Weeping Radish Christmas Bier is a doppelbock.
Don’t look for any definitive guidance on the import aisle: France’s Brassier La Choulette makes a biere de garde for Noël; Brasserie Dubuisson’s Scaldis Noel from Belgium is a strong dark ale; Germany’s Brauerei Mahr makes a Christmas Bock; Harvey’s Christmas Ale from England is a barleywine. And forget about Denmark: Its Mikeller Red/White Christmas is a mix-and-match blend of British red ale and Belgian witbier.
The only thing they seemingly share in common is their head-banging potency that gives “Silent Night” a whole ‘nother meaning—especially when it’s labeled “Stille Nacht” and it contains no less than 12 percent alcohol.
Heretics! Infidels! Pagans!