Enjoy Your Holiday Spirits

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Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates this holiday, and Happy Holidays to everyone else. Regardless of your traditions, hopefully it involves getting together with friends, family and loved ones.

Naturally, that often involves great food and plenty of drinks. I was just out and about and lots of people were stocking up on booze and beer for their holiday parties. We’ve had a number of features recently and in past years with suggestions on cocktails, beer and wine. Bob Westal gives us weekly ideas with his Drink of the Week series helping us with both traditional and new cocktail recipes. His recent article covered several Christmas cocktails that you might consider for tonight and tomorrow.

Several years ago Mike Barkacs offered up his top 5 holiday beers which should give you some ideas on how to stock your refrigerator, and naturally you can check out all of our beer reviews.

Then check out our wine reviews as well for ideas on what to serve with your holiday meal.

Finally, check out our Booze Gift Guide for last-minute ideas on bottles you can bring to a party or add to your own stock for this week and next.

Please be safe and enjoy the holidays!

  

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Beers for the holidays

There are all kinds of drinks that make the holidays special and more enjoyable, but for many of us a good beer will always do the trick. Our beer aficionado Mike Barkacs put together a list of 5 holiday beers to consider as you stock up for the holiday weekend. His favorite is Corsendonk Christmas Ale:

I love Belgian beer any time of the year, so I had to have one on the list. I could have easily had five. The Corsendonk fits the Christmas beer mold perfectly. It is big, malty and complex. Just tons of flavor from every direction, but nicely balanced, as you’d expect from these guys. There is fruit, spice, grain and a healthy kick of alcohol. My only quibble, and it is minor, is there is maybe a touch too much anise in it for my licorice hating taste buds. Otherwise, it’s close to perfect. They spice it up, but there is so much more going on in this beer, that all the spice doesn’t feel overblown.

Whatever your preference, drink up, be safe and enjoy your holiday!

  

A holiday beer doesn’t make the cut

Our beer reviewer, Mike Barkacs, wasn’t too impressed with Delirium Noel.

I tried to love this beer. I just can’t. I try it every year, hoping the otherwise fabulous Brouwerij Huyghe can get it right. I love Delirium Tremens, and anybody that can come up with that obviously knows everything about brewing beer. How can they possibly get their Christmas beer wrong? It’s meant to be a gift to all their loyal beer loving customers. Not that it’s awfu — I doubt they could make an awful beer even if they tried — but this Christmas Ale falls so far below expectations that you may just want to re-gift it to the crazy uncle.

It looks, and smells, like it might even surpass expectations. And the 10% alcohol could make for a very merry Christmas season. It’s a deep reddish amber, but not as dark as many big Belgian dark ales. The head fades quickly to lacing, but that’s not unusual in most Christmas beers. While not being clear, it would be hard to call it cloudy. Maybe a thin, sedimentless fog. The aroma is both complex and entirely unusual for a Christmas ale. You expect to find a load of spices, tons of alcohol and plenty of malt. Those are there, but they are way back behind an almost saison-style earthiness. Then a load of strange fruits for a Christmas beer, the most prominent being banana, of all things. None of this is the least unpleasant. Unusual for the style, maybe, but very promising.

But that’s the point where the Noel loses me.

You can go read the rest of the review here.

Here’s one site’s recommendations on the 10 best holiday beers.

  

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