There's no doubt that the ugly Christmas sweater has become an iconic emblem of holiday cheer, much like the sparkling lights and the unmistakable aroma of fresh pine. But for those who cherish both festive fashion and a good brew, why not take the celebration up a notch by pairing that audacious sweater with the perfect local American brew? Here's your ultimate guide to making your sweater's statement resonate in your glass!
- The Classic Fair Isle Sweater - New England IPA
Originating from the chilly region of New England, the hazy and juicy IPA, with its soft carbonation and fruity undertones, mirrors the cozy and traditional feel of a classic Fair Isle sweater. Both the sweater and the beer represent a certain timelessness. Breweries like Tree House in Massachusetts or Alchemist in Vermont offer quintessential New England IPAs that encapsulate this essence.
- The Flashy Sequined Sweater - West Coast IPA
Much like the bold and unapologetically bright sequined sweater, West Coast IPAs are clear, crisp, and often piney or resinous. Their vibrant hop profile matches the vivacity of a sequin-studded sweater. Stone Brewing from California or Deschutes Brewery from Oregon showcase this style brilliantly.
- The Tacky 3D Sweater - Milk Stout
Those sweaters that have a 3D element, like a stuffed Rudolph nose or Santa's protruding beard, demand a beer with a robust character. A creamy milk stout with its sweet and full-bodied profile resonates with the playful, multi-dimensional nature of such sweaters. Left Hand Brewing Company's Milk Stout is an exemplary choice.
- The Vintage Sweater - Barrel-Aged Beer
If you're donning a sweater that once belonged to your granddad or found its way to you from a vintage store, pair it with a beer that appreciates age. Barrel-aged beers, with their depth of flavors from the wood, be it bourbon, wine, or even rum barrels, resonate with the nostalgic vibes of a vintage sweater. Kentucky's Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling offers a revered Bourbon Barrel Ale fitting for this match.
- The "Too Much Information" Sweater - Sour Ales
These are the sweaters that might have a slightly inappropriate joke, a controversial character, or just be plain weird. They're a conversation starter, much like a tart, tangy sour ale which not everyone might appreciate at first but can't help but discuss. A wild ale from Russian River Brewing Co. or a Berliner Weisse from J. Wakefield Brewing are top picks.
- The DIY Sweater - Homebrewed Ale
If you're someone who took the time to craft your own ugly Christmas sweater, there's a high chance you appreciate the nuances of a homebrewed beer. Its imperfections, unpredictability, and unique character mirror a DIY sweater's charm. If you're not a homebrewer, seek out local microbreweries or nano-breweries in your vicinity for that handcrafted touch.
- The Minimalist Sweater - Pilsner
For those who wear an understated sweater, perhaps with a tiny Santa hat or just a sprinkle of snowflakes, the simplicity and precision of a Pilsner is your brew. Crisp, golden, and with subtle malt flavors, it's all about finesse. Check out offerings from Firestone Walker or Victory Brewing Company.
The beauty of ugly Christmas sweaters is that they're a reflection of individual personality, humor, and spirit. And isn't that what craft beer is all about too? Each brew tells a story of its origin, its brewmaster's vision, and the community it belongs to. So, this holiday season, as you proudly wear your sweater, make sure your beer resonates with your statement.