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The Strong, Silent Type


Winter and beer were made for each other. Sure, the crisp, bracing refreshment of a cold Lefthand Juju Ginger or Upslope Craft Lager in the summer is nice. But when the sun is gone before you leave work and it’s barely crawling over the frosty horizon when your alarm goes off in the morning, it’s the season for something thick, rich, dark and potent. How else would you  stoke the inner fires without booze with alcohol in the double digits?

Avery is to the holidays what cookies and milk are to Santa

Winter is when brewers let fly with their creative concoctions and resurrect the potent ghosts of years’ past. Take Avery’s Rumpkin Ale aged in rum barrels. Even at $12 for a 12-ounce bottle, this sledgehammer (15.9 percent alcohol by volume) pie in a bottle flew off the shelves at local liquor stores when it was released this fall. But you can get one last glass until it’s gone starting at 5 pm Dec. 21–23 at the Avery Tap Room. The in-laws will be a lot more tolerable with a Rumpkin glow.

Avery is atoning for closing Dec. 9 for its staff holiday party by letting its Meph Addict flow New Year’s Eve. This coffee-infused 15 percent ABV Mephistopheles Imperial Stout pours like a moonless night and sports an espresso-brown head and a dark-roasted aroma that will restore the circulation to any extremity.

It’s beer, it’s wine, it’s Super Kind!

Get your glow on with Mountain Sun’s Super Kind barleywine. Brewed to 10 percent ABV, this malty wonder is dry hopped with Cascade pellets, giving it a piny aroma, not unlike the fresh cut trees for sale down at the church lot. And while it may be gone by the time this hits the streets, check and see if the rare keg of Samichlaus is still going. If it is, don’t delay and get thee to the Vine Street Pub for a glass of this 14 percent ABV dopplebock. One of the strongest lagers made, the honey and pear flavors barely stand up to the heat of the alcohol packed into this Austrian import. Mountain/Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub make prodigious use of Facebook, so friend them and watch for daily updates about what’s on tap.

Celebrate the light at Lefthand

If the Barrel-aged Widdershins Barleywine is blown when you read this, check back at the Lefthand tasting room; they are said to have more and will make it available later in December. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t head there now. ‘Tis the season for the barrel-aged Wake up Dead Russian Imperial Stout. This deadly brew (10.2 percent ABV) is outstanding on its own, but after lying  in an oak barrel for more than a year, it gets downright ethereal. And stay tuned for the 2012 Ambidextrous release in January. This is a mix of Widdershins and Imperial Milk Stout that only the mad brewing scientists at Lefthand can concoct. Though the sound of it is quite atrocious, you know it’ll be delicious.

Find your way to Twisted Pine

Another winning winter release is Twisted Pine’s award-winning Northstar Imperial Porter, on tap now when we need it most. Brewed to 9 percent ABV, this robust porter packs in the roasty chocolate flavors. Grab a growler to share with Santa and he’ll be sure to hook you up with that pair of Liberty Helix skis you wanted so bad.

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