Wrapping beer bottles is sort of a nightmare, if you even have the foresight to buy the gifts more than 15 minutes before you’re supposed to arrive at a holiday party. The solution: intricate, foil-labeled bottles that sparkle without any wrapping required. Plus, what’s inside is just as special as the exterior.
1. Coedo Shikoku: Not all flavorful winter beers are stouts. For fans of lighter-bodied brews, this jet-black Schwarzbier from Japan offers a deep roasted coffee and cocoa flavor without the heft of a barrel-aged or imperial brew.
2. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout: A box of mixed candies is a gamble; this winterrelease beer isn’t. The brawny, 10% Russian Imperial Stout mimics a malted milk ball with a blanket of dark chocolate flavors that would complement a slice of cheesecake or rich crème brûlée.
3. Avery The Reverend: Gift this to your drinking buddy who worships Belgians with a near-religious intensity; its dark fruits and boozy spice would be a perfect match for gingerbread and apple desserts. On its own, it’s a memorable afterdinner warmer.
4. Rhinegeist Café Ink: You’ve given your espressofueled boss some fancy beans for the past five years—now it’s time to up the ante. This Cincinnatimade, coffee-spiked imperial stout is brewed with local java; find it just in time for the holidays.
5. AleSmith Barrel-aged Speedway Stout: Your Secret Santa will be extra lucky to find this bottle in his or her stocking. Released in November, this bourbon barrel-aged variation on the brewery’s Russian Imperial Stout is one of its most soughtafter beers; geeks lust after its brawny coffee, oak and roasted barley notes.
6. Three Taverns Feest Noel: Winter spices like cardamom, clove and allspice weave in and out of the Belgian quad’s fruity flavors—it tastes like what a great fruitcake should be (such a thing does exist!).
7. Longwood Stoutnik: This matte black bottle from British Columbia’s Longwood Brewery is truly mysterious: Not only are its rich Russian Imperial Stout contents hidden, but the Morse code-textured label tells the story of this brew—if you can decipher it.
8. Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock: You may have to camp in the brewery’s Warren, Michigan, parking lot the night before this beer’s annual November release, but your recipient of this prized bottle will be oh-sograteful. (Hopefully, he or she feels like sharing.) Full-bodied and rich, this jammy, chocolatey bock drinks beautifully now, and its 15.5% ABV will only mellow with time.
9. O’Fallon King Louie Toffee Stout: Each year, O’Fallon brewers collaborate with St. Louis’ Bissinger’s Chocolatiers to create just the right toffee to add to this vanilla- and caramel-laced stout. Find it on shelves through the holiday season; pair it with a pound of the confectioner’s English almond toffee for extra credit.