Every Christmas Eve, I get together with my parents and others close to me to eat, drink and be merry. And open a few gifts by the tree, of course.
One of the holiday traditions is for me to bring some beer that isn’t the Miller Lite my dad usually keeps in the fridge. Usually, it’s simply something local he hasn’t had before, like when Falls City Brewing Co. was revived back in 2010, and its signature English pale ale was released in six-pack bottles. My dad enjoyed that one.
A couple of years ago, it was a Great Flood Brewing Co. bourbon barrel-aged imperial red ale that I’d been sitting on for a while. He wasn’t so keen on that one, but he did have a glass of it. Another year, it was West Sixth Brewing’s Christmas Ale, another one that he had to wrestle with a bit. (My dad’s palate is still developing.)
This year, I have a bottle of Against the Grain’s Bo & Luke tucked away in the fridge; I’ll probably just save that one, and let my dad’s palate develop a bit further.
My whole point is that Christmas doesn’t have to be about eggnog (yuck) or spiced rum cider. Beer is for the holidays just as it is all year round, and local breweries know it. There’s a lot going on the next couple of weeks leading into Christmas, so here’s a rundown on how you can make your holidays hoppy.
3rd Turn Brewing in Jeffersontown gets us started with Beer and Carols on Dec. 12, starting at 7 p.m. Nothing fancy here, just sitting around sipping beer and singing classic Christmas songs. I’m told that singing talent is not required to attend, which is always a plus. While you’re there, see if they have any of their vanilla, maple and coffee imperial stout left.
There is a lot going on Dec. 15 at Louisville breweries. At Old Louisville Brewery, it’s Family Fun Day, with a day of Christmas movies and shows including “Elf” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” along with hot chocolate, cookies and brownies, activities for kids and a special horchata porter for the adults. Wear your favorite pajamas to add to the festive feel.
That same day, Against the Grain goes a little, well, against the holiday grain with the Mele Kalikimaka Hawaiian Holiday Party. Break out your best (or worst) Hawaiian shirts and hula the night away to the surf-rock sounds of Tsunami Samurai. There will even be a sexy Santa available for photo ops in the bottle shop next door. You can wash that one down with a big dose of 35K stout.
If you prefer your holiday-themed beer party toned down a little, hit Great Flood Brewing Co. on Dec. 15 for a West Sixth tap takeover. That one will include a photo booth, a pop-up library and a chance to sip on West Sixth’s New Riff, their Christmas ale aged in gin barrels. No sexy Santas.
Falls City Brewing Co. wants to save you a trip to the mall by hosting Sunday with Santa on Dec. 16. Bring your camera or phone to snap photos of your family with Santa — no ordering, no hassles. All they ask is for a $5 donation for the St. Joseph Children’s Home. Don’t be surprised if Santa’s breath smells like 3 to the Head Red, a Louisville basketball-themed beer Falls City cooked up with former Cardinal Luke Hancock.
Mile Wide Beer Co. also will have Santa Claus stopping by to take pictures Dec. 16, but, in this case, focusing on photos with pets. For a $5 donation to MisPits and Friends, a local dog rescue, you’ll get a digital photo of your pup with the jolly guy e-mailed to you. Seems a McPoyle stout would go well with a Santa pet photo.
Hopping over the river (but not through the woods), Floyd County Brewing Co. wraps it all up Dec. 21 with an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. It is just what it says it is: Wear the ugliest sweater you can find and get in on drink specials and live music (we hear there will be some revved-up versions of holiday classics). Wash it all down with Little Full, Lotta Sap, a spiced brown ale just for Christmas.
Or, heck, just grab a sixer of your favorite, whatever it may be, at your local store and settle in with the family in front of the fire. Or the TV. We all know “A Christmas Story” will be on all day long on Christmas.