8. Yule Smith Winter
, San Diego
AleSmith brewers Peter Zien and Tod Fitzsimmons could have just let their holiday beer offering be yet another bottle under the tree in beer-rich San Diego, but their Yule Smith has become a seasonal standout.
It's brewed under the same name in the summer, but as a Christmas-in-July Imperial IPA. For the winter, Ale Smith switches to a super malty, incredibly smooth Imperial Red Ale with a whole lot of hop aroma. There's a bit of hop bitterness, but not so much that it overpowers the style completely. This is a way easier sip than any 9.5% ABV beer should be, but those hops on the nose should provide fair warning about the warm winter's night ahead.