Beer is clearly good all times of the year, but I wouldn’t come out and say that ANY kinds are good at any time of the year.

Example: Come winter, I don’t want a yellow Mexican beer (that pairs well with lime) anywhere near me. That’s a summer beer.

It’s just weird.

So I’ll quit my judging and share a few interesting, winter brews for you to try out – before they run out. That’s right, all of these are sold for a limited time in the winter.

Prepare for dark color, spice and complexity.

Delirium Noel

Yeah, ok…I’m still a predictable species. In my fall beer review I came out and professed my love for Delirium Tremens, the flagship brand of this Belgian brewery. Tremens is so tasty, and I’m not the only one who thinks so because the brewery’s site claims the recipe was nominated for best beer in the world in 1997.

So, naturally Noel (the seasonal, limited release from Delirium) comes off delicious as well, but with different qualities. Where Tremens is crisp, slightly fruity and bright, Noel is smoother, darker and has hints of cinnamon.

And come on, the pink elephant is wearing a Santa hat on the label.

Case closed.

Anchor Brewing Company 2010 Special Christmas Ale

I’m actually drinking this beer as I write this post (classy!). And it’s pretty good.

You surely know San Francisco-based Anchor Brewing Company, who brew up Anchor Steam, a staple beer (in my humble opinion).

This beer is darker than its flagship sister beer as well, and it actually finishes off like a stout with notes of coffee when the beer is long down your throat and you swallow once more, honing in on the flavor.

Trending like other winter/holiday beers, the special ale has hints of spices and has a caramel-like taste throughout, too.

Besides, I feel pretty special when my alcoholic beverage wishes me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It’s the thought that counts.

Scaldis Noel

When I hit up Hi-Time in Costa Mesa, itchin’ for some Delirium Noel (mentioned top), I was peeved to find that they were out.

“Excuse me,” I said to the hipster kid that works the beer section, “You don’t have anymore Delirium Noel, do you?”

“Nope,” he said. “Some girl came in here yesterday and bought ALL OF THEM.”

I was already annoyed and now I was hearing about some girl, who should have been me, who had the bright intuition to buy them all out and was now simultaneously freezing in the walk-in beer room. Who IS SHE? Why am I not her?

I was a bit beside myself, “Well…why didn’t you punch her in the face and say ‘save some for all of us?'” (Yeah, this is a true story.)

“I don’t punch girls in the face,” he said.

I smile, awkwardly, and say “that was a trick question and you answered it right, congrats.”

Then hipster beer dude proceeded to coax me into buying this Scaldis Noel, a holiday beer from a boutique brewery. He said that in a tasting, people ‘preferred’ this brew over Delirium Noel and it’s better anyways because “it’s 12% in a small bottle and knocks you on your ass.”

Well, I bought it and it didn’t knock me on my ass – bad thing? – but it did have a nice, butterscotchy flavor to it. Honestly, the butterscotch was a bit too much for one whole beer. The idea is nice, though.

And I must say frankly, the packaging is more charming than the holiday brew itself.

But, hey, I’ll take the experience with me.