Christmas Beers, Or Beers Drunk on Christmas

Eno Sarris, December 24, 2014

Now that I've finally found two Christmas beers I can stand -- Great Lakes Christmas Ale and Prairie Christmas Bomb -- I'm a little more interested in what beers are actually drunk on Christmas. Because I had no inclination to save a beer for that day, much less those two beers. I'm currently saving a 2013 Bourbon County Brand Stout Rye and a 2014 Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin, but those will be soiffed on New Years, when it's all about drinking. 

Maybe your Christmas is all about drinking, but it won't be the feature at mine. So what sort of beer actually gets drunk on this day of Christian and capatilist revelry? Let's check to see what happened last year on Christmas Day. 

First, by quantity alone, the top 20: 

Brewery Beer Score Count
Guinness Guinness Draught 4.052691974 48366
Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) Bud Light 2.666107732 38466
Miller Brewing Company Miller Lite 2.799133762 33709
Heineken Heineken 3.031513478 33684
Yuengling Brewery Traditional Lager 3.628736392 31782
Coors Brewing Company Coors Light 2.723440908 31637
Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA 3.888205953 31075
Pabst Brewing Company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) 2.96370347 28584
New Belgium Brewing Company Fat Tire 3.653030136 27243
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Pale Ale 3.768370845 26836
Stella Artois (ABInBev) Stella Artois 3.36334442 26157
Coors Brewing Company Blue Moon Belgian White 3.610739591 25122
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Rebel IPA 3.53456 25000
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Boston Lager 3.524679211 24393
Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) Budweiser 2.761098006 23315
Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V. Corona Extra 3.112555512 23193
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Sculpin IPA 4.227600735 22311
Founders Brewing Company All Day IPA (Session Ale) 3.834989391 19323
Stone Brewing Co. Stone IPA 3.946299179 18631
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Torpedo Extra IPA 3.868877438 18048

There really isn't a surprise here. Sam Adams had just released Rebel IPA, so that's probably why it was feeling good last Christmas. The other beers are just the big beers, and they might even do better that day then they would on any other day. (You are, after all, going to hang with family, and they're not all craft beer fans.)

Let's convert these numbers to a percentage of the day's checkins, and then compare to another random day. Say... December 21, 2013. Why not. Here are the beers that had the biggest positive difference in percentage of the day's checkins. In other words, these beers saw the biggest boost from Christmas as a day, or as a thing. 

Brewery Beer Score Count Xmas % 21st % Diff
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA 3.53 25000 0.00237 0.00233 0.00004
Samuel Adams Cold Snap 3.51 16294 0.00155 0.00151 0.00003
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams Summer Ale 3.50 14795 0.00140 0.00138 0.00003
Stone Go To IPA 3.85 12176 0.00116 0.00113 0.00002
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA 4.05 11695 0.00111 0.00109 0.00002
Jacob Leinenkugel Summer Shandy 3.69 13023 0.00124 0.00121 0.00002
New Belgium Snapshot 3.48 10016 0.00095 0.00093 0.00002
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams Octoberfest 3.72 16086 0.00153 0.00150 0.00002
Troegs Nugget Nectar 4.30 8618 0.00082 0.00080 0.00002
Stone Stone Enjoy By 02.14.14 IPA 4.36 7466 0.00071 0.00069 0.00002
Founders All Day IPA (Session Ale) 3.83 19323 0.00183 0.00182 0.00002
Sixpoint Hi-Res 4.15 6179 0.00059 0.00057 0.00001
Stone Grapefruit Slam IPA 3.81 5731 0.00054 0.00053 0.00001
Lagunitas Night Time Ale 3.93 5711 0.00054 0.00053 0.00001
Magic Hat Dream Machine 3.41 5587 0.00053 0.00052 0.00001
Widmer Hefeweizen 3.49 9739 0.00092 0.00091 0.00001
Lagunitas IPA 3.89 31075 0.00295 0.00293 0.00002
Rogue Ales 7 Hop IPA 3.97 5343 0.00051 0.00050 0.00001
Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Extra! Ale 4.10 5220 0.00050 0.00048 0.00001
Green Flash Brewing Co. West Coast Double Ipa 3.97 5182 0.00049 0.00048 0.00001

Now we're getting some different results. Snapshot from New Belgium and Widmer's Hefeweizen makes two wheat beers in the top 20. Maybe that makes sense. Wheat beers are often gateway beers: here, Mom, it's light and easy but has more taste than that one over there. Maybe you could say the same for Go To IPA and the Founder's All Day. Or maybe those were just released that winter. 

What is up with the summer beers. The Summer Shandy and the Sammy Summer... maybe that's about finding the beer you left at your parents' place in the summer, and swallowing hard before popping the top? I mean, four days before, people didn't want to drink that beer. Then all of a sudden, the summer beers start popping up on Christmas. Could be the weird back of fridge phenomenon. 

Are we going to have a repeat this year? Deschutes' Fresh Squeezed is out again right now, and it's the only beer in the top five Christmas Boost Beers with a four-star average. Perhaps it'll get a boost again this Christmas? 

And, since we're likely to take some time off in the next week, let's use the comments here to talk about the beers we'll be having this Christmas! A defacto holiday chat session. 

Whatever you celebrate, we hope you have a good week. Enjoy reponsibly, or just give someone your keys and do whatever the hell you want.