The Winter Beer Challenge 2010

Posted on December 14th, 2010

Winter and holiday-themed beers can be a great way to warm up on a cold winter evening. With so many out there though it can be tough to know which ones to drink. As we did with pumpkin beers in October, the Beeriety team got together last Sunday to solve this problem. We conducted a blind taste test of 16 popular winter beers  to see what beer would emerge as the group favorite when labels, brands and preconceptions were removed.

With the help of Challonge.com the 16 beers were randomly organized into a bracket of 8 pairs. We then evaluated each pair by sampling the beers side by side in unmarked cups poured by our MC for the evening, Sarah. A vote was taken, and the winner of each round moved on the next round, where it would be paired against the other winners from the previous round. This process was repeated until we were left with just one beer and the winner of the evening, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale.

Our results should of course be taken with a grain of salt. You should keep in mind that a small sample of beer is going to come across very different than a full pint. Also the temperature of the beers inevitably changed through the course of the night, which can have a strong influence on a brew’s taste. This is by no means the final word on what the best holiday beer is, just a list of what we liked the most. It was a lot of fun and we highly recommend hosting a similar event yourself. Be sure to check out the photos of the event on Flickr.

Check the bracket for full results (winners are in orange.) Surprised by any of the outcomes? Let us know in the comments!

  • Jo

    I almost picked up the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale yesterday for my office Christmas party when I was at the store! Dang, should have gone with my gut feeling from what I see on the bracket.

  • Drinkingvictorygin

    What happened to the Delerium Noel?

  • We had it in the line up but ended up removing it due to limited supply. We only had one bottle. Fantastic beer though.

  • What’d you go with instead?

  • Jo

    Seeing as I needed lots of beer for the party, I decided to get ‘2 Below’ from Fat Tire.