Spoetzl Shiner Holiday Cheer
This Texas-brewed dunkelweizen wraps all the banana and clove notes that characterize a hefeweizen in a darker, richer malt blanket, just right for cold nights.
Iron Horse Cozy-er Sweater
The Ellensburg, Washington-based brewery turns up the dial on its Cozy Sweater vanilla milk stout to create an oatmeal-molasses stout aged on maple wood called, naturally, Cozy-er Sweater.
Double Mountain Fa La La La La
Not all winter beers bend toward dark malt; Fa La La La La layers pine- and citrus-leaning hops over a sturdy, doughy (but not roasty) base.
Brooklyn Insulated Dark Lager
Chilly? Pile on another sweater, or reach for Brooklyn’s woodsy dark lager, which packs enough pine, dark chocolate and deep roast to simulate a crackling fireplace.
Boulevard Snow & Tell
Solidly a winter beer but without heavy spicing or tons of alcohol, this 6.3% oak-aged Scotch ale layers caramel and brown bread malts across the tongue before fresh oak dries out the swallow.
Magic Hat Winter Mingle Stout
Busting out of the winter variety pack, this creamy, low-bitterness Tahitian vanilla-spiked stout gets its own six-pack treatment this year.
The recipe for this winter release (loosely brewed as an altbier) changes slightly each year; the 2016 edition includes a bit of oats for a smooth mouthfeel as well as more hops, primarily Simcoe.
It’s unclear exactly when holiday sweaters—the jingle bell- and bow-crusted pullovers moms favored circa 1992—became ironically funny and not just a source of embarrassment in old family photos. But it happened. Now, ugly sweater parties are a wintertime phenomenon, and breweries are getting in on the fun with knit-themed labels and parties.
Oh, and save the dates: Heritage Brewing hosts an ugly sweater party and Peppermint Stout release on Dec. 17 in Manassas, Virginia; and Short’s Brewing Co. throws its Annual Ugly Sweater Party in Bellaire, Michigan on Dec. 23.