Restaurant News

Five Seasonal Beers (and Cider) to Add to Your Holiday Table

From a fruity sour beer that pairs perfectly with rich gravy, to a spiced squash porter for dessert.


Thanksgiving dinner is only the beginning—by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we imagine you’ll have had dozens of opportunities to savor a seasonal drink or several. Whether you’re looking for food-friendly ales and ciders to pair with a festive feast, a gift for your beer-snobbiest friend, or just a few cool cans and bottles to pop with your family this season, check out these fresh releases from Boston-area breweries and cider makers.

Idle Hands Craft Ales Crantastic sour beer

Photo provided by Idle Hands Craft Ales

Idle Hands
Kill Your Idles: Crantastic

This installment of the fruited sour beer series from Malden brewery Idle Hands Craft Ales is a kettle-soured ale with cranberries and blood orange. The timely release will pair perfectly with all types of holiday food, cutting through all that richness with tart, complementary flavors. Try it on draft and pick up cans to-go at the taproom to pair with your gravy-doused turkey, and look for Crantastic cans to see area distribution throughout the holiday season, as well.

89 Commercial St., Malden, 781-333-6070, idlehandscraftales.com.

Artifact Cider Feels Like Home cans 2018

Photo provided by Artifact Cider

Artifact Cider
Feels Like Home

Juicy, New England apple cider ferments on rum-soaked oak chips, then gets packaged in buffalo plaid for this hygge-inspired winter release. Look for the cozy cans in stores throughout the state beginning just before Thanksgiving, and you’ll also be able to find it at the cider company’s new, state-of-the-art production facility and taproom in Florence, Mass.—close to Artifact’s Western Mass. orchard partners.

34 N. Maple St., Suite 15, Florence, 617-544-3494, artifactcider.com.

Cambridge Brewing Co. Casual Gods

Photo provided by Cambridge Brewing Co.

Cambridge Brewing Co.
Casual Gods

Pick up a couple of these bottles to share with friends who will appreciate the unique techniques that went into producing this wild golden ale. The brew fermented in oak barrels using the wild, mixed cultures already present in the wood; then rested sur lie (or with the dead yeast still present) and remains unfiltered. Finally, it was fermented again after being corked-and-caged in 375-mL bottles. The result is a creamy golden ale that starts super-dry before rounding out with a fruity yeast character. Bottles are for sale now at the CBC brewpub, and at select stores across the state.

1 Kendall Square, Bldg 100, Cambridge, 617-494-1994, cambridgebrewingcompany.com.

Harpoon Dunkin Coffee Porter

Photo by Tyler Machado

Harpoon Brewery
Dunkin’ Coffee Porter

Even if your Masshole cousin purports to dislike craft beer, he will not be able to resist these bottles—the label is even complete with a Dunkin’-style checklist of the brew’s flavor profile. Craft beer lovers, too, find it worth buying: Dunkin’s new espresso blend lends a robust and roasty flavor to the medium-bodied porter, which results in a smooth and extremely crushable go-to dark beer. The Dunkin’ Coffee Porter is on draft at Harpoon’s Boston and Vermont breweries, and is in cooler cases and on retail shelves around the region.

306 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-456-2322, harpoonbrewery.com.

Turtle Swamp Brewing Skwashbuckle

Photo by Lindsay Donovan

Turtle Swamp
Skwäshbuckle

Made with local squash and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove, this imperial porter is your dessert beer of the season. It’s a rich and hearty sipper with ruby highlights and a frothy, mocha head, but at nearly 11 percent alcohol-by-volume, it’s best shared among friends and family. With a classy wax seal, it also makes a great gift. Released annually just before Thanksgiving, find it fresh at the Jamaica Plain brewery, and at select stores such as City Feed & Supply, the South End Whole Foods, Brighton’s Oak Square Liquors, and Blanchard’s in West Roxbury.

3377 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-522-0038, turtleswampbrewing.com.