On December 31, many will toast the new year with a flute of sparkling wine. Most of us call it Champagne, as it’s kind of gone the way of Q-Tips and Dumpsters, which are more generically known as cotton swabs and waste bins, but everybody calls them by the brand names that made them famous. It’s a fancy, pretty drink, and when poured into one of those slim flutes, it makes you want to tip your pinkie up a bit while you sip.
But if you’d much rather reach for a beer instead (pinkie tipping optional), we have a round-the-clock guide to enjoying New Year’s Eve properly.
Wicked Weed La Bonté (with Pear)
(Asheville, North Carolina)
After you drag your tired carcass out of bed, pour yourself a glass of La Bonté while you’re waiting for your morning cup of coffee to percolate. This beer is far better than a mimosa—it’s light and fruity, with enough funk to wake you up. This is a farmhouse ale open-fermented with Wicked Weed’s house wild culture and Brett to give it a light, tart zing. It’s blended with blonde sour before it’s added to French pears and conditioned until it’s perfect. It’s sweet, lightly sour, and delicate, and the mix of funk and juice is amazing.
Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
By 10 a.m., your coffee is already slowing to a crawl, and it’s time for a pick-me-up. Grab a cookie, then fill up your glass with some Left Hand Milk Stout. This sweet confection of a beer is the perfect blend of coffee with cream, vanilla, and mocha, but it has just enough roast to balance. It’s super creamy, just like adult chocolate milk. And speaking of adulting, if you haven’t put on pants yet, this is about the time to start thinking about that. But be sure to finish your beer first.
Goose Island Beer Company Lolita
As you’re reading through your social media feed and watching happy videos of your friends’ accomplishments through the year, take solace in the fact that at least you have killer taste in beer. Make yourself a PB&J and pour a glass of Lolita, which is jammy, fruity, and malty—just like a liquid PB&J. Write down a list of the whales you’ve been hoarding—there’s no time like the present to get these out, and if you put them in the fridge now, they’ll be cold by midnight.
Perennial Artisan Ales Barrel-aged Abraxas
(St. Louis, Missouri)
This barrel-aged imperial stout is released only annually, so whenever you’re lucky enough to spot a bottle out in the wild, grab it. Aged for a year in Rittenhouse Rye barrels, it’s brewed with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, ancho chiles, and cinnamon sticks. For those of you who love Mexican chocolate—I assume the rest of you just haven’t tried it yet—this is a delight in a bottle and is perfect for keeping that smile in place through the dozens of NYE selfies you’ll be in this evening.
**Brouwerij Lindemans Oude Kriek Cuvée René (Belgium)
Make yourself something amazing for dinner—steak, lobster, tofurkey—you deserve to treat yourself after the year you’ve had. Cuvee Rene is a champagne-like gueuze brewed with cherries that’s a rainbow of citrusy and stone-fruit flavors, with some Lacto, Brett, and earthiness to balance.
Fill yours and your friends’ glasses with some Sundowner, which is a sparkling Belgian ale that’s brewed with champagne yeast and has notes of green apple and white grape. It’s the perfect substitute for champagne and a great gateway for your wine-only friends.
Stone Brewing Enjoy After
Unlike its counterpart brew, Enjoy By, this Brett-spiked IPA is meant to be cellared until after the date printed on the bottle. These beers are funky and spicy, a bit acidic, and between the ingredients and the effects of aging, full of complexity. But one thing that makes this an especially fun beer for celebrating the New Year is that it is incredibly bubbly. So as the clock strikes midnight grab one, open it up, and spray it all over your friends.
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