8 beers that fit your holiday style

Illustrated banner of pairings. Top row left: pilsner and gift box wrapped in red paper and a gift card in fron of it; centre left: brown ale and tacky Christmas sweater; centre right: dark ale and fruit cake; right: british style pale ale and a Scrooge top hat. Bottom row left: light lager and a microphone; centre left: IPA and a bough and holiday decorations; centre right: ice beer and toque and a pair of goggles ; right: stout and holiday cookies

Ready to grab a beer and chill fireside? Whether you’re an overeager elf or the bah-humbug type, there’s a brew that fits your holiday style

The holidays are a time for get-togethers and joyful celebrations. They’re also a time for, uh, tolerating each other’s quirks. And, like other occasions when festivities and feasts fill our days and nights, there’s room at the table for beer.

But what beer will make your festive season merry and bright? That depends on your holiday personality. Whatever your favourite festive pastimes and traditions may be, there’s a beer that’ll help the season go smoothly.

Stout + the festive dessert fan

Are you the sort of person who knows that the real presents aren’t under the tree — that they’re on the dessert table? Then give yourself the gift of a stout: Its chocolatey malt flavours will complement all those goodies — not just the chocolate ones but the vanilla and winter-spiced ones, too. (And if you’re in a baking mood yourself, Stout Gingerbread Cookies, Maple-Glazed Stout Gingerbread Bundt Cake or Chocolate Stout Crème Brûlée are sure to hit the mark.)

An illustrated glass of stout stands next to an illustrated selection of holiday treats.

Brown ale + the tacky sweater wearer

Do you love a knit that’s a little nutty? To each their own. A brown ale — which is also a little nutty — is a good match. And once we get past that hideous sweater, we know you’re probably a bit like the beer in other ways: sweet, agreeable and ready for a festive meal.

An illustrated glass of brown ale stands next to an illustrated green holiday sweater.

Pilsner + the perfect gift hunter

Are you one of those people who frets and sweats over every name on their gift list? We invite you to relax. Make shopping easy on yourself by having a go-to present for those hard-to-buy-for beer lovers. Just give ’em all pilsner. It’s the beer style that pretty much every beer drinker enjoys.

An illustrated glass of pilsner stands next to a box wrapped in red paper with a Beer Store gift card standing in front of it.

IPA + the (over-)enthusiastic decorator

Are a dozen strands of lights enough for one tree? Asking for a friend. If you’re a “more is more” kind of person when it comes to festively decorating your home, have we got a beer style for you. IPA (India pale ale) brewers start with malt and hops and then add more…and more…and more, especially when it comes to the hops. What you get is a bold and bitter beer. It really is the perfect complement to your twinkling, glitter-bombed abode.

An illustrated glass of IPA stands next to an illustrated pine garland and red holiday/Christmas decorations.

British-style pale ale + the Scrooge

It’s English and it’s bitter. Sound familiar? A British-style pale ale is the kind of beer old Ebenezer might have enjoyed, especially because it goes so well with hard cheese, his favourite. Don’t worry, we know you’re a big softie at heart. And the malty undertones of an English bitter ale are actually pretty sweet deep down — they’ll bring a tear to your eye every time.

An illustrated glass of British-style pale ale stands next to an illustrated black top hat like Scrooge would wear.

Dark ale + the fruitcake lover (yes, really)

You may never be able to persuade anyone else of how good a fresh fruitcake can be. And that’s all right because it means there’s more for you. Another private pleasure? Pairing it with a dark ale: They can also be dense — and even “chewy” — with complementary molasses flavours.

An illustrated glass of dark ale stands next to an illustrated fruitcake.

Light lager + the holiday tunes caroller

From “jingle all the way” to “Rudolph, with your nose so bright,” you’ve got every line of every holiday classic memorized — and you’re not afraid to prove it (at top volume). Seasonal music may be a bit corny, but so what? So are lots of great things. Light lager, for example, can have “corny” aromas thanks to the corn sugar that goes into the brewing kettle. You’ve got to keep those golden pipes lubricated for when you belt out that Mariah Carey number (again), right?

An illustrated glass of light lager stands next to an illustrated microphone.

Ice beer + the polar bear dipper

Running — on purpose — into an ice-cold body of water: Some say it’s absolutely bonkers. But to you, it’s an invigorating ritual to kick off a new year. (We’re just going to take your word for it.) If you’ve got ice in your veins and you’re looking for a cold one — a really cold one — chilling with an ice beer is the obvious choice.

An illustrated glass of ice beer stands next to an illustrated toque and pair of goggles.

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