Beer Flights

Holiday Brews

It's the most wonderful time of the year – when brewers come out with special holiday and winter brews, usually fuller-bodied, higher-alcohol stuff frequently flavored with interesting spices. Here's what some Texas brewers have to offer:

Saint Arnold

The Christmas Ale is absolutely one of my favorites. Its five different malts give it a heartiness that warms your soul. It's already out, soon to be followed by their pitch-black Winter Stout.


Holiday Cheer, a dunkelweizen (dark wheat) flavored with Texas pecans and peaches, has really been a hit for Shiner during the past two winters. Even if you think you don't like fruit beers, give this a try.

Real Ale

Phoenixx Double ESB, a complex and hoppy winter warmer, will be out around New Year's.

Live Oak

Primus Weizenbock just hit the bars last week, featuring a bananalike flavor that I can't get enough of. Old Tree Hugger Barleywine returns in late December – at 14% alcohol, it'll definitely cut the winter chill.


Convict Hill Stout is one of the best things this Austin brewery has produced; it's a bold, dark brew.


Pecan Porter is one of this brewery's staple tap-only beers year-round, but a whiskey-barrel-aged double version of this, scheduled for early December, has me looking at the calendar with mouthwatering anticipation.

Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery

Assuming they're finally brewing by winter, Moontower will be a malty, oak-aged imperial stout made for slow sipping.

North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery

Look for Holiday Ale (an English-style barleywine) and Espresso Stout from one of my very favorite Austin brewers.

Lovejoys Taproom & Brewery

Old Vixen is an American-style barleywine aged in Jack Daniels whiskey barrels for six months. Very hoppy and high-alcohol. This downtown fixture also promises an imperial coffee stout made from locally roasted beans.

Rahr & Sons

This Fort Worth brewery should have its Winter Warmer bottled by the time you read this.

Lee Nichols blogs about beer at

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