The most wonderful time of the year brings tappings of festive seasonal ales, ugly sweater parties at breweries and chances to help the less fortunate while enjoying a cold beer. Here are 12 beer events you should check out in December.
Dec. 2: Aslin and Manor Hill collaboration at Meridian Pint
Herndon's Aslin Brewing is known for its juicy New England-style IPAs, which cause fans to line up for hours at some beer releases. The Columbia farm-brewery Manor Hill has been getting attention for its fruity IPAs and traditional farmhouse ales, like the knockout Grisette. Now Aslin and Manor Hill have joined forces for a hazy double IPA called the Grapeness, made with Viognier grape juice and “all the hops.” This highly limited beer hits the taps at Meridian Pint, alongside other beers from Manor Hill, on Friday. 5 p.m. 3400 11th St. NW. meridianpint.com. Free.
Dec. 3: Hops for Hope at Ocelot Brewing
Before Adrien Widman co-founded Ocelot Brewing, he worked for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He's gathered with fellow Virginia breweries — including Old Ox, Tin Cannon, Belly Love, Old 690 and the Veil — to create a beer called HOPE, which will raise money for the NCMEC. Stop by the breweries on Saturday for a taste, though Ocelot is the epicenter. 1 p.m. 23600 Overland Dr., Sterling. ocelotbrewing.com. Free.
Dec. 4-5: Right Proper's Anniversary in Brookland and Shaw
Talk about timing: Right Proper's two D.C. outposts have birthdays within days of each other. On Sunday, the production brewery in Brookland turns one year old, and the birthday party, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., includes cake and a bluegrass performance by the Capitol Hillbillies. The following night, the Shaw brewpub marks its third anniversary with the release of vintage beers, including Le Flâneur, Gnosis aged in Green Hat Ginavit barrels and Häxan aged in rum barrels. (There will also be an “art show” of early logo concepts that didn't make the cut.) Doors open at 5 p.m. Brookland: 920 Girard St. NE; Shaw: 624 T St. NW. rightproperbrewing.com. Free.
Dec. 5: Monday Night Beer Club at Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown
Pizzeria Paradiso's first-Monday-of-the-month beer club is one of the monthly highlights of the local beer calendar. In December, taste a dozen seasonal beers on tap, including offerings from Corsendonk, the Bruery, Scaldis and Ninkasi; staff tips go to DC Greens, a local charity that works to improve food access and education. 6 p.m. 3282 M St. NW. eatyourpizza.com. Free.
Dec. 6: Holiday Beer Tasting at Mad Fox Brewing
Try seasonal beers from a dozen Old Dominion breweries, including Champion, Hardywood, Adroit Theory and Lickinghole Creek, at Mad Fox's annual celebration. The evening is hosted by local beer legend Bob Tupper, who once hosted similar events at the Brickskeller. Tickets are required in advance. 7 p.m. 444 W. Broad St., Falls Church. madfoxbrewing.com. $55, includes samples of all beers.
Dec. 7: Give a Can, Get a Can begins at Pizzeria Paradiso
Since 2011, Pizzeria Paradiso has held a fundraiser called Give a Can, Get a Can, which is one of the most straightforward fundraisers around: Bring a can of food to Pizzeria Paradiso to donate to local charity Martha's Table, and you'll get a free can of beer, whether you want DC Brau, 3 Stars or New Belgium. (Bring two cans of food, and you'll receive two beers, and so on.) The fine print: Check the Martha's Table website to make sure you're bringing something on their wishlist, and note that each Paradiso location has a different date for accepting donations: Georgetown on Dec. 7, Old Town Alexandria on Dec. 14 and Dupont Circle on Dec. 21. Dates and locations vary. eatyourpizza.com. Free.
Dec. 9: DCHeavyMetal Holiday Party at Atlas Brew Works
Some people prefer Pig Destroyer to Bing Crosby, but that doesn't mean they can't get together to enjoy holiday festivities. The folks behind DCHeavyMetal have organized a raging holiday get-together at Atlas Brew Works with music by Gloom and Genocide Pact, Atlas beers and plenty of giveaways and other gifts, because, well, 'tis the season. 8 p.m. Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE. dcheavymetal.com. $5.
Dec. 9: 12 (or More) Beers of Christmas at the Black Squirrel
The Black Squirrel's seventh annual holiday party includes plenty of seasonal beers (16 at last count, including Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve and bourbon barrel-aged Great Lakes Christmas), and free Christmas cookies for all attendees. 5 p.m. 2427 18th St. NW. blacksquirreldc.com. Free.
Dec. 9: Ugly Sweater Party at Fair Winds Brewing
What would a holiday weekend be without a chance to don your tackiest apparel? At least you'll be rewarded at Fair Winds's annual taproom party: The ugliest sweater gets free swag or a growler fill. Everyone else can show off their holiday duds at the bar while ordering $4 wet-hopped White Cap IPAs or $2 taster pours of All Hands Anniversary Barleywine or Dank and Stormy IPA. 5 to 9 p.m. 7000 Newington Rd., Lorton. fairwindsbrewing.com. Free.
Dec. 14: Prairie Artisan Ales at ChurchKey
Okay, this isn't seasonal, but Prairie Artisan Ales is great any time of year. The Tulsa brewery has made its name with awesome wild ales (Funky Gold Mosaic), hoppy saisons (Standard) and a huge imperial stout (Bomb!), but they're still hard to find in the D.C. area. This party features 33 different Prairie drafts and bottle pours, including true rarities: Look out for the Barrel-Aged Christmas Bomb, an imperial stout with seasonal spices aged in whiskey barrels. 4 p.m. 1337 14th St. NW. churchkeydc.com. Free.
Dec. 15: 'Happy Festivus' Trivia at Port City
How much do you really know about the holidays? Test your skills at Port City's trivia night, with rounds covering Christmas specials, holiday movies, the history of different holidays, Seinfeld's 'Festivus' episode and, because you're playing trivia in a brewery, holiday beers. There's no cost to play, but arrive early to get a space. Teams are limited to six members; ugly sweaters and holiday apparel are encouraged. 7 p.m. 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria. portcitybrewing.com. Free.
Dec. 21: Holiday Tap Takeover at ChurchKey
In the mad rush of holiday parties, it can be easy to forget that the season is supposed to be about giving as much as receiving — if not more. Every December, ChurchKey picks one night to put seasonal beers from around the globe on its 50 taps, from English strong ales to Belgian Christmas beers to American imperial stouts. Beer lovers are asked to bring canned goods for donating to Martha’s Table. Guests receive a four-ounce taster of beer for each donated can, and everybody wins. 4 p.m. 1337 14th St. NW. churchkeydc.com. Free.