Hoppy new year

Do you want to celebrate the new year with a little bubbly but don’t like champagne? Or just looking for something a little more local? Then put some beer on ice and call it champale (in a ’70s, retro-malt kind of way).

Rubicon Brewing Company has its reliable Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale that looks remarkably like champagne in a glass and doesn’t hit you over the head with alcohol. Hoppy Brewing Company brews a Liquid Sunshine Blonde Ale with a dry finish (for you brut champagne drinkers). The Odonata Beer Company Saison Ale is a great choice to pair with a New Year’s feast. Try it with sausages, seafood or cheese—all great celebration foods.

And Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, while comparatively far away in Chico, still counts as semilocal. Its Celebration Ale is only available in the winter and is a little richer and more intense than the other brews. It’s made with three kinds of hops, for a very aromatic result. Here’s to a hoppy 2011.