Today’s pick comes from one of Maine’s most popular brewers: Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale, a big ESB that shows up in November and lasts through the end of the year. Their recipe focuses on a solid interpretation of the style rather than gimmick:
Our Christmas Ale is a robust E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter) full of holiday cheer. Christmas Ale has a lovely, dark red/amber color and a rich, full-bodied, malty taste with a slightly roasted undertone. We brew our Christmas Ale to an original gravity of 1064 (about 6.2% alcohol by volume) using only the finest English Pale and Crystal Malts, with a touch of Roasted Barley as well. A blend of Clusters, Styrian Goldings, Saaz and Yakima Goldings leaf hops round out this hearty brew. Gritty’s Christmas Ale has no additives, fruits or spices.
As an added bonus, I dug up a commercial for Gritty’s Christmas Ale on YouTube while I was searching around. It’s from a couple years ago and showcases the kind of goofy, Strange Brew/Newhart-esque sensibility you’d expect from a brewer that named itself “Gritty McDuff.” Go watch it; your day will be better for it.