With New Years Eve rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about which beer you’ll pop open when the clock strikes midnight. Some traditionalists might say that New Year’s is a champagne-only holiday, but I left the bubbly behind years ago and celebrate the start of a new year with a good beer. But it can’t be just any beer – I have rules.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1: The beer must have a cork. Some may bristle at this limitation, but I feel New Year’s isn’t the same without a cork being popped at midnight. This doesn’t mean you can’t have other beers on hand to celebrate with, but the Official™ new year’s beer HAS to go “pop!”
2: It must have a pretty label. New Year’s is a dress-up holiday, and your beer should be no exception. Therefore, a proper New Year’s beer must have a properly fancy label. This is no time for a Weyerbacher…well…anything!
3: You must be able to see through the beer. I’m willing to be a little flexible on this one, but most folks want something light and bubbly on New Year’s Eve, so it’s no time to go popping the top on that Sierra Nevada 30 you’ve been saving in the beer cellar (although it’s fine to uncork that monster at 12:05, after the lighter stuff is gone).
4: Speaking of bubbles, it must be rather effervescent. Even though I prefer craft beer over champagne for New Year’s (and just about every other occasion), I still like my New Year’s cup filled with sparkly bubbles. Therefore, my New Year’s beer has to be well-carbonated and plenty lively.
5: No nasty beer names. No one wants to kick off the New Year on the wrong foot, so I avoid good beers saddled with weird names. Popping the cork of an Allagash Victoria is great, but I wouldn’t want to toast the New Year with a bottle of Damnation – that’s just asking for trouble!
So those are my guidelines for choosing a New Year’s beer, and several tasty selections check all of these boxes. I’ve already mentioned Allagash Victoria, which is brewed with Chardonnay grapes, making it quite champagne-esque. Then there’s Sam Adam’s Infinium, a beer that was created specifically for the occasion and that’s pretty tasty if not totally wonderful. It’s a great choice if you’re serving it to some non-beer-geek friends. I’d even lump Duchesse De Bourgogne in here as well, even though it’s a little dark and I struggle to appreciate it – it’s still a fancy, interesting beer with a very cool new look to its label. And if you can’t find any of the above, Chimay Cinq Cents (the one with the off-white label) is nice choice that’s widely available across the country.
I’m still undecided what I’ll be having on New Year’s Eve, but I know I’m not going to be cracking open a can of Dale’s Pale Ale.
How about you? As always, let us know below!