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Brew Christmas 2006

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Here in the States, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. That means a lot of turkey hangovers out there–not to mention the inevitable leftovers from the holiday feast. Fortunately, in my house, that includes a number of fine beers that somehow didn’t get consumed during the free-for-all around the dinner table! Of course, me shuffling them to the back of the fridge might have had something to do with it… 😀

In addition to all the familiy traditions and revelry, one of the things I truly enjoy about the holidays are the special Christmas brews you can only get this time of year. So it is with great pride (and a mild buzz) that I make my recommendations for 2006. If you like good beer–and if you’re just a little bit adventurous–you might want to slip a few of the following bottles into your shopping basket, should you happen upon them at your local emporium de libation.

  • Scalids Noel: Certainly the granddaddy of all Christmas beers, in my humble opinion. Brewed in Belgium, this bold beauty delivers all the kick you’d expect–but it goes down with a deceptively smooth, almost whiskey-like taste. Hints of caramel and a tart, fruity finish make this extremely drinkable, so watch out. At about 12% abv, you’ll definitely want to sip on this one or you might not know what hit you.
  • Samuel Adams Winter Classics: I always look forward to this one, because it’s the only time you can get some of the Sam styles I’ve grown to love over the years. Old Fezziwig and Holiday Porter are among them, and so is (although I seem to be the only one who likes it) the controversial Cranberry Lambic–which isn’t really a lambic at all, but is plenty cranberry. They also gave Sam Light the boot last year, so it’s all real beer. I know it’s a big brewer, but so what? It’s good stuff, and you’re sure to find something you like in that big, wonderful box.
  • Delerium Noel: Ah, that pink elephant–wearing a Santa cap no less! As the name suggests, it’s another potent offering from Belgium (am I sensing a pattern here?). Seductively smooth, this one will also creep up on you. Darker than its cousin Delerium Tremens, you’ll enjoy this if you like a good doppelbock.
  • Santa’s Butt Porter: Forget the expensive tag, the label alone is worth the price. However, the liquid under the hood is pretty dang good as well. Deep, dark and rich, with the overtones of coffee you’d expect from the style, it’s got a 6% kick this year–middle of the range, but still not for the faint of heart. Leave some for St. Nick with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. He’ll thank you by leaving a Mercedes under the tree next year.

Of course, I could go on and on–but this short list should give you a pretty good place to start. If you have any brews you’d like to rave about, I’d love to read about it here. In the meantime, cheers–and happy holidays!

Update:  It seems that Santa’s Butt has caused a bit of a stir in Maine.  And I thought Florida had some strange alchohol laws…

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