One tradition during the holiday season in central New York is the arrival of Saranac Season's Best from the F.X. Matt Brewing Company. If my calculations are correct, this marks the 30th year that this holiday beer has been brewed. Remember how it started?

beer in glass
Graeme Robertson, Getty Images News

I believe it was 1983, when the F.X Matt Brewery introduced "Holiday Beer", a new craft brew unlike anything else on the market. It was a light amber color and very flavorful, much more so than the "yellow beers" of the day. The following year, the name was changed to Season's Best, and it has remained so ever since.

In the early days of the brew, each Season's Best was a different recipe, and the year was printed on the bottle's neck label. By 1990 or so, the brewery decided they hit upon a favorite recipe, a nut brown lager and kept it that way year in, year out. I know people out-of-town who come back during the holidays, and stock up on Season's Best to take back with them.

This holiday season, the brewery has debuted a new brew, Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale. I had to try it, and give it a big thumbs up. Maybe this will become another Utica-Rome beer tradition in holidays yet to come.

Here's a brief description of Rudy's Spiced Christmas Ale, according to


6 packs, 12 packs, Draught, 12 Beers of Winter

This amber ale's ingredient list reads like a Christmas cookie. A malty, slightly spicy, slightly sweet treat that complements any holiday meal.


Spiced Ale


2-row, Munich


Hallertau, Mittelfreuh"