A CeleBEERtion With Holiday Hops


Between holiday lights and gift giving, there is a general sense of greater merriment everywhere I turn this time of year. Does anyone else feel this way?

I have to admit, another part of what I love about this jolly season is what it brings to the table (literally) when it comes to festive drinks. If you’re a beer lover, you won’t want to miss these seasonal options right here in Honolulu.

1) REAL a gastropub, St. Bernardus Christmas

Now on tap at REAL (1020 Auahi St.), Bernardus is everything you might expect in a holiday beer: strong, rich and smooth. It’s a dark Belgian blend of spices in both taste and aroma, and I also tasted hints of banana, which was a delicious surprise.

2) BREW’d Craft Pub, Anchor Christmas Ale 2015

Brewed by Anchor Brewing Co. out of San Francisco, Anchor Christmas Ale 2015 is an aromatic blend of cherry, nutmeg and gingerbread. It felt like Christmas was leaping into my mouth. Fruity at first, it yields a hoppy aftertaste. Grab a glass of this at BREW’d (corner of 9th Avenue and Waialae) and raise it to Santa!

3) Gordon Biersch, WinterBock

Available in limited quantities every November-January, Gordon Biersch’s WinterBock is a delightfully strong dark beer with caramel undertones. Made using four different types of malt, WinterBock is a deliciously creamy holiday treat.

4) Honolulu BeerWorks, Outer Reef Imperial Rye

OK, so any place that makes a Christmas tree out of kegs is a winner in my book. Honolulu BeerWorks’ (328 Cooke St.) limited release, Outer Reef Imperial Rye, is a deep amber blend of spices and fruit — think pears and plums — with an 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (pretty typical of holiday beers according to their brew expert, Nicholas). This week, they brewed their 200th batch of beer and are celebrating in style, so grab a growler and fill it up for a season full of cheer.

5) Pint + Jigger, Samuel Adams White Christmas

My love for the mixologists at Pint + Jigger (1936 S. King St.) is limitless, so when I heard they had Samuel Adams White Christmas, I went right over. A crisp blend of traditional Christmas spices and orange, this seasonal sensation is a can’t-miss on the holiday brew circuit. I especially like this beer because, unlike most holiday blends, it’s light!