• Sweden edition
 
CHRISTMAS IN SWEDEN
Sweden's best Christmas beers: a selection
Photo: Systembolaget

Sweden's best Christmas beers: a selection

Published: 09 Dec 2011 14:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2011 14:27 GMT+01:00

For many of us living in Sweden, Christmas is a time for observing time-honoured traditions like lighting advent candles on Sundays, spending mornings before school with our children watching Julkalendern, pickling herrings and slow cooking mustard-coated hams, battling through overcrowded shops and persuading neighbours and friends to ‘help out’ on the big day.

But for fans of great beer, Christmas brings with it a different kind of tradition altogether – the annual release of seasonal beers at the Systembolaget.

This year a staggering 42 beers made their way onto the shelves at the state run liquor retailing monopoly, prompting the question: “what exactly is Christmas beer?”

Many beer aficionados feel that (and don’t tell the kids this) Christmas beers, like Santa Claus, don’t actually exist.

From the beginning they were probably little more than a cynical ploy from large Humbug breweries looking to fill their profit stockings by taking one of their standard beers, shoving a scrooge-size dollop of sweetness, booze and colour in it, slapping a Santa on the bottle/can and calling it something ‘Christmasy’.

The good news is that in recent years, the lack of any real stylistic definition of Christmas beer has led to many brewers making up their own rules. For beer drinkers this is cheery news indeed as we can now enjoy everything from a bock or a Belgium strong ale to an old ale and even a beer that you can warm up!

So if you’re looking forward to a hoppy Christmas here’s a quick wish list of 10 beers worth trying this Yuletide:

Anchor Christmas Ale

This ale's secret recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label! Expect an explosion of red berries and citrus, spices and a hint of sap and pine needles (as though someone slipped a bit of the Christmas tree in it while you weren’t looking).

BrewDog There is No Santa

Watch out because this stout from the ‘shock jock’ Scottish craft brewery BrewDog is a spice bomb loaded with gingerbread, coffee, orange peel and chocolate!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale

As Belgium as TinTin with sweet smells of dates, candy sugar, cloves and something mildly medicinal. With an amazingly thick, smooth consistency this beer’s like Christmas pudding in liquid state. Great after-dinner beer with superb ageing potential!

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

A powerful English style old ale with a distinctly American twist. Monstrously large levels of sweet toffee malt flavours followed by an attack of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Not strictly a Christmas beer but a seasonal beer classic since 1995.

Jólabjór

A smoked bock (a strong lager) from Icelandic craft brewery Ölvisholt Brugghús. Smells of campfires, lightly smoked meat and fruit and delivers flavours of bready malts and spicy lemons.

Liefmans Gluhkriek

Probably the weirdest beer of the season but wonderful along with it. A hybrid of glögg (a spiced mulled wine) and kriek, a Belgium cherry fruit beer. All fruity red wine upfront and then the spices kick in, with cloves and cinnamon leading the charge. Drink it cold or warm it up!

Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper

A hugely complex Christmas beer from Denmark with intoxicating aromas of orange, cinnamon and chocolate and a velvety body that seduces with its rich, sugary spicy finish.

Sigtuna Midvinterblot

An imposing imperial porter brewed with a blend of pilsner, chocolate and oat malts together with muscovado sugar and honey. Tastes of melted ‘knack’, almonds and chocolate. A perfect beer to relax and reward yourself with once the relatives have gone home on Christmas day!

Mohawk SnowBlind Strong Ale

Swedish ‘flying brewer’ Stefan Gustavsson has created this strong ale which takes a detour from the majority of malty beers out there and instead delivers an invigorating hit of hoppy passion fruit and pine on the nose.

Nils Oscar Julöl

As Christmas as Kalle Anka, with inviting smells of chocolate, dried fruit and coffee over an elegant and smooth digestive biscuit and caramel body.

Enjoy responsibly, and have a very merry Christmas!

Darren Packman started writing about beer in the UK in the mid-90s. Now based in Umeå in northern Sweden, Darren now writes about the beer scene in Sweden from the inside out on his "decidedly un-lagom beer blog" BeerSweden.se.

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

20:30 December 10, 2011 by JustGuy
Anyway Fuller's ESB is the best.
23:31 December 13, 2011 by Puffin
Shame the article didn't focus on Swedish Christmas/Winter beers

My own favourite is the award winning Oppigårds Winter Ale from Dalarna
01:28 December 14, 2011 by Coalbanks
Sounds good. Can these be mailed to me?
18:05 December 18, 2011 by Great Scott
@JustGuy

You are right, but try King Goblin.

There is not a beer in this list that is worthy of being a Christmas beer. Try St Peters or Fullers Old Winter Ale.
Today's headlines
Swedish Tetra Pak factory to shut down
Photo: TT

Swedish Tetra Pak factory to shut down

A Tetra Pak factory in southern Sweden is set to shut down due to a decrease in demand, meaning 250 Swedes risk losing their jobs. READ  

The Local List
Ten false friends in the Swedish language
Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Ten false friends in the Swedish language

Never, ever take the Swedish language at face value. This is a language where "puss" means "kiss" and "kiss" means "pee". And that's just the beginning... READ  

Sami museum hit in suspected tear gas attack
Permanent exhibition on the life of Sami nomads. Photo: Bengt Oberger/Wikipedia

Sami museum hit in suspected tear gas attack

The Sami museum in northern Sweden had to be evacuated after two attackers sprayed an unknown substance which left several people violently ill. READ  

Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Emir Selimi: The winner of the 2014 Raoul Wallenberg Prize. Photo: Charles L. Sjölander

Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize

A Roma man has been hailed as "inspirational" after scooping this year's Raoul Wallenberg Prize for setting up an organization to help stamp out racism against the community. READ  

Government keen on Nato forces in Sweden

Government keen on Nato forces in Sweden

Nato will soon be able to deploy forces to Sweden, with the government likely to sign an agreement with the military alliance this week, but an expert told The Local that full membership remains unlikely. READ  

Beggar hit in exhaust fume 'attack'
Exhaust fumes. Photo:Shutterstock.

Beggar hit in exhaust fume 'attack'

A beggar in southern Sweden was forced to flee in terror after she was enveloped with thick black smoke, part of an apparent attack that was captured on video and spread via social media. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden opens the gates for election voting
Don't forget to vote. Photo:Shutterstock.

Sweden opens the gates for election voting

If you're busy on September the 14th, or simply can't wait to have your voice heard, Wednesday morning marked the opening of the polling booths for early-bird voters. READ  

Whooping cough alert after two infants die

Whooping cough alert after two infants die

The Swedish Public Health Agency has urged parents to be aware of the dangers of the infectious whooping cough disease after two babies have recently died from the illness. READ  

Chuck Berry wins 2014 Polar music prize
Chuck Berry performing in Oslo in 2007. Hakon Mosvold Larsen /Scanpix Norway

Chuck Berry wins 2014 Polar music prize

The Polar music prizes were handed out in Stockholm on Tuesday night, with Chuck Berry and theatre director Peter Sellars sharing one million kronor ($153,000) in prizes. READ  

Swedish store scraps high heels for toddlers
The shoes pictured are indeed the shoes in question. Photo: Joakim Loamotte/TT

Swedish store scraps high heels for toddlers

UPDATED: A social media storm has seen a supermarket chain recalling its heeled children's shoes. The man behind the storm says other countries could learn from how seriously Sweden takes equality. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

732
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se