For many, New Year’s Eve is driven by repetition: Watch the clock while sipping Champagne; conjecture that Ryan Seacrest cannot possibly be human; and count down the final moments of the calendar. Happy new year!
This year, once again, looks different than we’d hoped. However, we can confidently say it’s still okay to skip out on group events and entrance fees, and bask in the glory of a budget-friendly trip to the store to stock up on some bottle-popping, toast-worthy beers.
For those who already consider popping beer bottles a high-brow occasion, there’s no explanation needed here: Enjoy the list! For those with a curious inkling to try something new — perhaps the world of pilsners is calling, or a fruity, effervescent farmhouse ale piques your interest — there’s no time like the present to start exploring. This festive list of beers includes options for a range of palates and tastes and for all occasions, from a party pack of low-calorie lagers to rich and decadent bourbon-barrel-aged stout. Start the countdown to 2022 with the 10 selections below, each one is worth its own celebration.
10. Gay Beer Golden Lager
Launched in December 2018, gluten-reduced Gay Beer introduced its light golden lager to drinkers with diversity and inclusion in mind. Light, lithe, and easy-drinking, this label is more about vibe than recipe. German hops keep it crisp and refreshing and a hint of citrus character is there if you’re looking for it, but the real win is to keep the party going with a lower-calorie option that will only set you back $14 for a 12-pack — and 138 calories for those who are counting.
9. Talea Al Dente Italian-Style Pilsner
As the Italian-style pilsner trend continues to captivate American brewers and beer drinkers, we continue to taste every iteration that crosses our paths, and Talea’s “Al Dente” is one we’ve returned to time and time again. Sophisticated and stylish, this Italian-style pilsner marries cereal sweetness with pleasant bitterness. We love it as an aperitif, but it also pairs well with light snacks and drinking card games.
8. Stillwater Extra Dry
Baltimore (Produced in Stratford, Conn.)
Stillwater Extra Dry quietly tiptoed into the background of beer shops until recently, when an eye-catching rebrand landed it back on our shelves — and among beer design trends to watch for 2022. Extra Dry is a perfect beer to have on hand for several occasions, from after-work refreshment to celebratory gatherings with beer-curious friends. It’s ultra crisp and refreshing, low-alcohol enough to drink all night, yet has subtle depth of flavor from saison yeast and the use of sake rice in the grist. The flavor is delicate and fresh, a touch fruity as Citra, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling hops bring citrus and floral notes from nose to palate. The can is also one of the coolest-looking around, so that’s a plus for striking visuals.
7. Schlenkerla Helles
Peated Scotch fans may appreciate the subtle smoky notes on this Helles lager from Bamburg, Germany’s famous Schlenkerla. The brewery is synonymous with the Bavarian speciality of smoked beer. However, this Helles is not actually smoked itself, but gets its smoky flavor from being in proximity to rauchbier and other smoked beer production. It’s a favorite among aficionados and a great entry-level smoky taste for those interested to explore. As a party beer, it also pairs very well with pigs in a blanket and other porky snacks.
6. Perennial Artisan Ales Saison de Lis
An irresistible saison from St. Louis, Perennial’s Saison de Lis is floral, spicy, and dry as a brut Champagne, but softer on the palate and easier to share. The addition of chamomile flowers adds playful finesse and prepares the palate for a tart finish. Plus, the 750-milliliter bottle is impressive, and the pretty label design brings a bit more elegance to the occasion. A lovely, low-alcohol 5 percent ABV makes this a perfect bottle for those planning to wind down after midnight.
5. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Bam Biere
Bam Biere is a Michigan farmhouse ale that continually garners attention for its thirst-quenching tartness, bright acidity, citrus flavor (sans actual citrus), and low-alcohol content. Lemony zest is softened by two months’ oak aging, giving the light ale noted complexity despite its relative chuggability. Dog lovers might drink this beer in honor of the brewery’s Jack Russell, Bam, who survived being hit by a car and inspired this bottle. (It was also recently named one of VinePair’s 50 best beers of the year.)
4. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2021 Classic Cola Stout
Whiskey and Coke fans will be tickled by this cola-inspired barrel-aged stout released as part of Goose Island’s legendary lineup this year. It brings citrus and sweetness together in boozy harmony, and is a fun one to share with close and curious friends.
3. Maine Lunch
This citrusy snack is consistently ranked one of the 25 most important IPAs, and is among the tastiest New England IPAs in craft beer history. That’s not to say it’s intimidating or too radically hoppy for novice drinkers — Lunch has tropical fruit notes on the nose, a caramel kiss of malt character, and a medium-bodied texture that’s both light and luscious. Buying bottles of this beer feels like striking gold, but don’t be afraid to pour generously; part of the joy of Lunch is sharing it with friends.
2. Saison Dupont
Saison Dupont is the reason we have “saison” in our beer vocabulary. (The French word for season, it refers to the centuries-old farmhouse ales brewed to refresh working hands in the hot months, but today, it’s brewed and enjoyed year-round.) It’s dry, soft, and fluffy on the palate, and has delightful fruity and spicy notes from the yeast. Like Champagne, Saison Dupont undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. The corked-and-caged bottle also has the added benefits of feeling fancy and fun to pop open, and at a fraction of the price of that sparkling wine you were about to add to your Drizly cart. It can also age beautifully in your cellar, closet, or fridge for next year.
1. Brave Noise Pale Ale
Feeling angst about the last year? It’s time to buck tradition with a worldwide collaboration beer: Brave Noise Pale Ale. When this year’s countdown to the New Year hits that last second, we’ll be clutching one of Other Half’s Brave Noise pale ale cans as we make some noise for the thousands of beer industry members who are brewing up a better future for us all.