In 2016, Hanukkah will be celebrated from the evening of December 24 through the evening of January 1. Whether you’re looking for a kosher option for yourself or just trying to stock a variety of options to accommodate all your holiday guests, there are a number of festive brews to choose from this year.
What is Kosher Beer?Kosher beer is beer that is brewed in accordance with traditional Jewish dietary laws. Beer can be acceptable without certification as long as it meets certain guidelines, according to Star-K. In the United States, Star-K approves domestic and imported beers.
Regular beer – brewed with water, grain, yeast, and hops – is generally kosher. These types of beers are acceptable without a certification. Many craft beers and seasonal beers, however, take a more creative approach to brewing, and the addition of other ingredients requires certification to ensure the resulting beers are kosher or fit for consumption by those following traditional Jewish law. Beers brewed in a pub or home brewery and English Milk Stouts also need to be certified.
The beers listed below are marked approved in Star-K’s comprehensive beer list.
Star-K Approved Selections for HanukkahFortunately for those who enjoy toasting the season with a cold one, observant Jews have plenty of options for indulging in festive winter beers that adhere to kosher standards.
Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams kicks up the spice and the flavor with its kosher Winter Lager. “Warm and festive” according to its label, the Winter Lager is a great option for the winter holidays. The Winter Lager is a bock style beer brewed based on traditional German beer-making methods. It includes special seasonal ingredients – cinnamon, orange peel, and ginger – to help spice up the season.
Widely distributed and only available during the winter, the Winter Lager has a 5.6% ABV and is calorie-dense, with 192 calories per 12 oz. BeerAdvocate.com rated it “good” with a score of 82.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Winter BockEstablished in San Jose, Ca., Gordon Biersch’s restaurants and bars are staples in cities and even airports across the U.S. The popular chain appeals to its observant Jewish patrons with the Winter Bock. A seasonal brew, available November through January, the Winter Bock is a richer, heftier choice than the Winter Lager. Doppelbocks like this one were brewed as far back as the 11th century by monks seeking sustenance during winter fasts, and this one’s nearly as filling, clocking in at 225 calories per 12 ounces.
Gordon Biersch compares its German-style Winterbock to the aroma of pumpernickel bread, with notes of caramel, dates, and spicy hops. With an ABV of 7.5%, the Winterbock is a little more potent than Winter Lager. It also received a “good” ranking of 84 on BeerAdvocate.com, although the site’s founders, the Bros, consider it “very good” with a rating of 85 out of a possible 100.
Boulevard Brewing Nutcracker AleThough its name may sound Christmas themed, Boulevard Brewing’s Nutcracker Ale is a holiday gift for any beer lover. This kosher winter specialty beer has a warming 7.8% ABV and notes of caramel, toffee, and spicy hop flavor. Nutcracker Ale is available annually October through December. It features a “very good” rating of 87 (out of 100) on BeerAdvocate.com.
We hope you have a happy Hanukkah and holiday season sipping on delicious Kosher beer. While not certified kosher, Berghoff Beer offers a variety of classic beer with exciting American twists. Learn more about our winter ale here and use our beer finder below to find Berghoff Beer near you!