Put away your wine spritzers and weak holiday punch. Stop hiding your misery behind that 9 a.m. glass of Christmas bourbon and water. It’s the golden age of beer for any season, but beer is especially potent for the holidays. Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø knows that, and he has some celebratory suggestions.

 

A former physics and English teacher, Jarnit-Bjergsø started Evil Twin Brewing in his home country of Denmark in 2010. He already had a successful beer distribution business, and his Copenhagen beer store was rated best in the world in 2007, and his home brews quickly became legendary. He made a Belgian-style lambic that’s so sought-after, it goes for $300 on eBay.

In March 2012, he moved his family to Brooklyn, with the modest goal of making New York the beer capital of the world. He exports to a dozen countries, distributes to some of New York’s (and Denmark’s) best restaurants and has had two of his beers named among the top 10 best beers in the world. If you’re going to take anyone’s advice on holiday beers, take his. Here’s a list he devised, complete with food pairings.

1

De Dolle

Stille Nacht

Belgium

First brewed in 1982, this is widely considered the most perfect Christmas beer ever made. It has 12% ABV but is still light-colored and fruity, which makes it easily drinkable. Stille Nacht comes from one of the most unique craft breweries in the world. De Dolle literally translates as “the mad brewer.”

Goes Well With:

Jarnit-Bjergsø recommends duck with sour cabbage to go with this beer. “Do you have this in the U.S.?” he asks. We do, though it’s not always the most popular offering.

2

AleSmith

YuleSmith

California

An imperial red ale from one of the best breweries in the U.S., YuleSmith isn’t the typical Christmas beer. It’s hoppy and refreshing, yet very flavorful, and has a good balance between malt and hop. They also make a version for the summer, also, ironically enough, called YuleSmith.

Goes Well With:

Jarnit-Bjergsø recommends this beer with the archetypal Christmas goose.

3

Lost Abbey

Gift of the Magi

California

“This is a fun beer, brewed by one of the best breweries in the country,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says. “Spicy, dark, warming, perfect for the cold winter nights!” To understand it better, read the commercial description: Lost Abbey describes its beer this way: “Gold in color and bittered with the bark of frankincense, we have even used the smallest amount of myrrh, which is an herb that has roots in ancient winemaking.”

Goes Well With:

“The thing about Christmas beers is that they are often so heavy and spicy that they will kill most food,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says, but adds that the Lost Abbey offering would go fine with some traditional holiday fruitcake.

4

Hoppin’ Frog

Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

Ohio

This “crazy beer,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says, is one of the most unique Christmas beers available. “It’s not the one I personally enjoy the most, but I think everyone should try it, as it is so unique.” Brewed with cinnamon and other Christmas spices, it tastes like a liquid Christmas cookie. Jarnit-Bjergsø says it’s “full, warming, with lots of stuff going on. It’s perfect as a late light sipper, or if you want to impress your friends with something different!”

Goes Well With:

The obvious pairing here is a Christmas cookie platter.

5

Gouden

Carolus Noël

Belgium

“An old favorite of mine,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says, “one of the beers I remember drinking when I first got into craft beers.” A classic Christmas beer, this one is dark, fruity and spicy; brewed with prunes and raisins. It also has a light menthol note that makes it a little refreshing. “It doesn’t get more Christmassy than this,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says.

Goes Well With:

Pair with a decadent chocolate dessert.