Hoppy holidays

Tim Arndt drinks a barrel-aged kilt clasher. Courtesy photo

Searching for a beer to match the Christmas cheer?

Tim Arndt, president of the Shenandoah Valley Homebrewers Guild, has some suggestions.

Gingerbread Stout
Bottled at: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond
Why you need to try it: The overpowering hype about the “freagin’ Christmas in a bottle” might seem a tad deafening, but it’s certainly warranted.

“It’s really the only beer in the area to get a 100 rating from BeerAdvocate.com [a national beer rating website], which is a big deal,” Arndt said. “It’s a nice winter-warmer kind of seasonal beer for sure.”

Kilt Flasher Scottish Ale
Bottled at: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland
Why you need to try it: The Nelson County brew earned high marks — and a bronze medal at last year’s Virginia Craft Brewers Cup — and the release of a new wood-aged version should raise the bar even higher.

Chinquapin Chestnut Porter
Bottled at: Old Bust Head Brewing Company in Warrenton
Why you need to try it: Taking its name from the species of chestnut tree that once towered over the commonwealth, this robust brew is made from a heaping portion of real chestnuts and a blend of dark malts.

The label just started brewing this year, Arndt said, but they already have a great selection of beers.

Bottled at: Three Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg
Why you need to try it: Notes of vanilla, oak, chocolate and espresso combine in this bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout to create a delicious brew.

Wicked Wiles Rye Barrel-Aged Cider
Bottled at: Winchester Cider Works
Why you need to try it: If beer’s not your thing, Arndt recommends this cider aged in used whiskey barrels.

“It imparts an oakiness to it, as well as a whiskey kind of flavor, but doesn’t overpower it,” he said. “The cider still carries through.”

The Shenandoah Valley Homebrewers Guild, which was founded in 2012, meets at 7:30 p.m. every third Friday of the month at Valley Homebrew in Winchester.

For more information, visit http://www.shenbrew.org.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com