Five great beer alternatives to traditional festive drinks

We spoke to Niall Kennedy of the Wee Beer Shop in Glasgow's southside to ask him to recommend five great beer alternatives to traditional festive drinks.

Published 21st Dec 2018
Updated 12 th Sep 2023

Uninspired by the thought of a tot of Sherry or a glass of eggnog? Niall, who runs the Wee Beer Shop in Glasgow’s southside, has picked five great beers that are the perfect alternatives to traditional festive drinks this Christmas.

Tempest’s Mexicake

(Brewery: Tempest Brewing Co., Scotland)

Picture: Tempest

Niall says: "Winter time – a time for sipping on hot chocolate.

"This year try something different – instead, why not enjoy the warming flavours of Tempest’s Mexican hot chocolate beer Mexicake.

"On top of a dark beer this excellent brewery added fresh vanilla beans, high-quality cocoa, Ceylon cinnamon, and Mulato and Chipotle chillies to make a complex and delicious beer with a rich, full mouthfeel, a touch of sweetness from the cocoa and vanilla, ground spice aroma from the cinnamon, a touch of fruitiness from the Mulato, and a little heat and smoke in the finish from the Chipotle."

Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout

(Brewery: Founders, USA)

Niall says: "Get your Christmas Day of to a great start with Founders’ Canadian Breakfast Stout – a classic dark ale which has massive tastes of roasty coffee and velvety dark chocolate.

"The beer is aged in barrels that had previously been used to store maple syrup that gives the beer a further sweet note.

"If breakfast is too early for this stunning beer then delay it till brunch-time."

Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene

(Brewery: Lindemans, Belgium)

Niall says: "If you like a sparkling wine then a Belgian sparkling lambic ale is a great alternative to a champagne, prosecco or cava.

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"Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene is light and sparkling, tart and mouthwatering with a grapefruity dry finish. Perfect to welcome your party guests or as an aperitif, it’s packaged in a large bottle with a champagne cork and cage."

Big Raspberry Dog Chew

(Brewery: Fallen, Scotland)

Niall says: "With your Christmas cake you’d normally sip a sweet dessert wine but this year consider Big Raspberry Dog Chew, made by the Fallen brewery in Kippen, Stirlingshire.

"It’s a big bold decadent stout, slightly sweetened with salted caramel, then made slightly tart with the addition of loads of raspberries in the brewing process. Superbly balanced, you could forgo the cake – the malty beer could replace your pudding."

Trappistes Rochefort 10

(Brewery: Rochefort Brewery, Belgium)

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Niall says: "Traditionally you’d have a port with your cheese board, but why not consider the classic Rochefort 10, brewed by Belgian monks in a monastery brewery that was founded in the 16th century.

"It's very dark with strong flavours of plum, raisin and blackcurrant and a port-like vinous quality that goes perfectly with strong cheese. Its widely regarded as one of the best beers in the world."

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