Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) were first brewed in England during the late 1700s for export overseas to British soldiers in India. To keep their beer from spoiling during the long voyage, English brewers fortified their traditional pale ale recipes with natural preservatives: more malted barley, for a higher alcohol content, and more hops.