Ho Ho ho have another, for the holiday season is upon us. Though you may be quaffing eggnog and sneaking a nip from the flask of cinnamon Schnapps up your sleeve, take some time to enjoy the seasonal releases from local breweries.

Stop in at Institution Ale Company in Camarillo for the return of Acedia, the brewery’s oatmeal red ale, a creamy beer in a reddish hue, the same shade ye ol’ Santa might be found in as he scrambles down your chimney. Stop in again soon for the release of the Surgeon — a triple India Pale Ale — and if hops are your thing, it’ll knock your boots off.

Ventura’s Topa Topa Brewing Co. has released its version of a California common lager, also known traditionally as a “steam beer”, innovated by San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery. The light brew offers up a hint of toasted almond and mild hops, great for a warmish Ventura evening.

On the other side of town, Surf Brewery’s espresso porter with ginger bread spice is for the true Christmas reveler. This porter is dark, but like the holidays themselves, on the lighter side, finishing with a distinct ginger cookie taste.

Moorpark is just up the road, and there you’ll find Enegren Brewing Co. and the last of its Foliage pale ale fall seasonal. While you’re in, try the nitro milk stout with its mouthful of creamy, chocolaty goodness, and return at the end of the month for the release of the Belgian Black Abbey ale.

If you’re looking for a little something to enjoy at home, pop into your neighborhood bottle shop and get hold of San Francisco’s 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat, a winter English-style ale spiced with a blend of seasonings such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Yes, it comes in cans; no, you shouldn’t think twice about grabbing it. You’ll thank me later.

Christmas is a time of giving, so why not give yourself a little yuletide cheer, typically found at the bottom of a pint glass.


Chris O’Neal is hoping someone stuffs his stocking this year. Follow him on Instagram @atchrisoneal.