I think this is the first year I’ve picked a Texas beer: Saint Arnold Christmas Ale. I don’t normally associate "Texas" with "beer" (other than Shiner and—originally—Celis), but there’s been something of a craft brewing renaissance happening in Texas, I understand, so I thought it was high time.
Saint Arnold Brewing is billed as "Texas’ oldest craft brewery" and their Christmas Ale was their first seasonal, first brewed in November 1995. At 7% alcohol, it’s brewed in the tradition of an Old Ale. I enjoy the description and history Saint Arnold provides:
This was the first seasonal we made. There has long been a tradition amongst brewers for making a special beer for the holidays. We decided on an old ale. The definition of this style has changed over the years. When we use the term, we use the old definition which describes big, malty, rich beers as they brewed in the olden days (as in a couple of hundred years ago—those olden days). Thus the name. (Today this name often implies a big beer that has been aged.)
We named it Christmas Ale because, well, that’s the holiday most of us celebrate. Also, we didn’t see anything particularly exclusive about calling it this. And we thought naming it this would set us apart from all the namby-pamby marketing wusses that tell people not to use "Christmas". We’re yet to see anybody not drink this beer because of its name. So there, wussies.
And, for a little more on the beer itself, check out the Session blog entry from Akelas Biggins. Enjoy!