Hudson Valley Gift Guide: Holiday Beer Edition
For craft beer lovers in the Hudson Valley, the most wonderful time of the year is here. After all, when else is it possible to sip and savor the seasonal brews that pop up as magically as an Elf on the Shelf? Each winter, local breweries go above and beyond to embrace flavor notes that run the gamut from creamy, cozy chocolate to crisp pine needles in the snow.
So, for the beer fans in your life, skip the same ol’ collectible stein and get them what they really want – a six-pack (or more) of the Hudson Valley’s most festive holiday beers. They might not all fit in one stocking, but we’re sure there’s plenty of room under the tree or next to the menorah to add an extra touch of seasonal cheer.
Middletown and New Paltz
Our pick: Freight Train
ABV: 10 percent
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Clemson Bros. Brewery’s imperial milk stout really does have a 10-percent ABV. The boozy brew is full of flavor, with a dark color that hints at the swirling harmony of chocolate, espresso, toffee, and roasted oats inside. The beverage is brewed with lactose and vanilla beans to give it a creamy, malty body. In other words, it’s the perfect alternative for beer lovers who want something other than spiked eggnog during the next holiday present-wrapping session.
Beacon and Garnerville
Our pick: Winter Landscape
ABV: 7.2 percent
A heavy hitter for the darkest, deepest winter nights in the Hudson Valley, Industrial Arts’ Baltic porter is more than a little alluring. Heady notes of dried currant and raisin sweeten the bittersweet black brew, which boasts a whopping 7.2 percent ABV. While the beer itself is a dream for chilly upstate evenings, it’s also the perfect gift for anyone who wants to do a little good, too. With every purchase, Industrial Arts donates 100 percent of profits to the Fresh Air Fund to provide unforgettable experiences for underserved New York City youth in the Hudson Valley.
Our pick: Angry Eggbert IPA
ABV: 7 percent
This wouldn’t be a true Hudson Valley holiday beer list without a mention of what’s arguably the most iconic seasonal sip in the region. For anyone who hasn’t sampled a serving of Angry Eggbert, the brew is named such in honor of the region’s folkloric egg and tastes like a mix of spruce needles and bold, juicy hops. It’s a must for anyone who adores the smell of Christmas trees (or just pine-scented candles).
Our pick: Practically Magic
ABV: 4.7 percent
The definition of an easy drinking beer, Rare Form’s magical brew makes the dark days of winter disappear with a single sip. This beer is the perfect drink for anyone who dreams of an exotic getaway whenever the snowfall descends upon the Hudson Valley. With notes of fresh lime and toasted coconut, this sour ale is a tropical escape in a can. Pair it with a playlist that features “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” and you have everything you need to gift a socially distant staycation from the comfort of home.
Our pick: Warm Blanket
ABV: 5.6 percent
If the name alone doesn’t tip you off, Warm Blanket is everything you love about winter in the Hudson Valley. Get it for the person who started decorating before Thanksgiving, since flavor notes like cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and Tahitian vanilla beans are the perfect pairing for twinkling lights and a splash of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in the background. The hot cocoa stout is creamy and drinkable, with a middle-of-the-road ABV. Pro tip: Pair a six-pack of Tin Barn’s seasonal brew with a fuzzy blanket and slippers for the ultimate nesting gift basket.
Our pick: Transitions Volume 3
ABV: 6.7 percent
You know that festive feeling that comes after you’ve ventured to a local Christmas tree farm to cut your own tree? This beer is the perfect thing to drink with it. While it’s not as overtly seasonal as the other picks on this list, it boasts notes of lemon, pine resin, and clementine that bring to mind holiday garlands, overflowing bowls of citrus on the dinner table, and the arrival of snow flurries in the Hudson Valley.
Our pick: Tree City
ABV: 6 percent
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire have nothing on Tree City, Zeus Brewing’s smoky, toasty collaboration with Plan Bee Farm Brewery. Available on draft or as a four-back, the smoked lager uses 100-percent New York State ingredients, making it a dream for the locavore in your life. Of course, as the brainchild of two of Poughkeepsie’s top breweries, the beer features Queen City’s very own apple, oak, maple, and cherry woods sourced from Plan Bee’s farm. The brewers used the woods to smoke the malt and craft a finish that brings the best of starlit campfires and crackling fireplaces into one smooth and smoky can.