Celebrate the holidays with a seasonal local beer

Staff writer

Nothing quite says holiday cheer like a holiday beer.

Luckily, there are plenty of yuletide brews and special events at Williamsburg-area breweries and other purveyors of artisan alcohol to celebrate the season.

There’s not one, not two but three special beers on tap at the Virginia Beer Company. The celebrated return of the Evil Santa Spiced Milk Stout, a creamy dark stout brewed with holiday spices, happened Nov. 3.

To celebrate the third annual release, the brewery planned release parties around the area in November and December, including at DoG Street Pub, Hilton Tavern Brewing Company and Water Street Grille, co-founder and managing member Robby Willey said.

The brewery also released the Vanilla Evil Santa on draft and in four-packs Nov. 17.

“Last year, we produced one keg of this recipe and it was one of our fastest moving beers,” Willey said. And on Nov. 23 came the limited-run Double Evil Santa, an 11 percent alcohol-by-volume version of the Spiced Milk Stout.

The brewery will partner with FoodaTude for a seasonal comfort food beer dinner party, featuring a multicourse Italian meal Dec. 4.

Virginia Beer Company will hold its second annual holiday keg share on Dec. 15. The event features more than 12 draft beers from breweries throughout Virginia that brew beer not currently available locally, Willey said.

Amber Ox will host Field Dayz Fest, a craft beer and food festival to benefit Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Dec. 1. More than 20 breweries from across Hampton Roads will be at the event, Amber Ox co-owner Andrew Voss said.

Amber Ox, a restaurant that has an on-site brewery, is also releasing two barrel-aged beers in time for the holidays, the Butternut Squash Brown Ale and the Winter Pear and Tea Spiced Belgian Single, Voss said.

Billsburg Brewery will release its Grand Hallucination Imperial Rye Porter Dec. 1. The release party will include the lighting of the brewery’s deck and outdoor tree, and live music, founder Dave Baum said.

“This is a beer that we made that encourages everyone to stay outside a little longer in the colder December days as autumn turns to winter and puts a little more cheer into the coming holiday season,” Baum said. “Its nose matches the taste with notes of coffee, rich toffee and caramel and chocolate with just a touch of roasty-ness.”

For drinkers looking for something a little stiffer, Silver Hand Meadery has some new and seasonal products available.

Silver Hand released its new mead La Berry Bomba on Nov. 16.

“This is a bomb of berries in your glass. Made with more fruit than we’ve ever put into a batch before including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries,” said Glenn Lavender.

The popular pumpkin pie spiced whipped honey will make a return, too.

The meadery will also hold its Mead Up event during the Grand Illumination weekend Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, which will feature live music and pours of mead by the glass, Lavender said.

With such a variety of special holiday beverages and boozy happenings on tap, there’s sure to be something for every taste this holiday season.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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