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The 18 best beers to give this season

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CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature  

Tie a ribbon ’round these bottles (and cans!) and bestow your loved ones with the gift of beer.

FOR A HANUKKAH DINNER: He’Brew Rejewvenator, a doppelbock-meets-dubbel-meets-grape juice, is the perfect kosher aperitif to start a meal of latkes and brisket. L’Chaim!

FOR THE COLLECTOR: Gifting the limited-edition Bison Reunion ’10 is a win-win: Cellarers get to hoard the 7% ABV Belgian-style Scotch ale, and your purchase benefits bone cancer research.

FOR YOUR DAD: Swap your old man’s usual box of stogies with the seasonal Cigar City Improvisación, a super-rich India-style brown ale brewed with oatmeal (for softness) and rye (for spice).

FOR THE RELATIVE YOU DON’T REALLY KNOW: A sure bet for any beer drinker, Ommegang Rare Vos takes a caramel amber ale to the next level with swirls of orange and earthy spice.

FOR YOUR MOM: Your mother’s not the only one who’s mastered the sweet potato: The Bruery infuses its smooth, sweet Autumn Maple with roasted yams, molasses, maple syrup and spice, plus a 10% ABV that’ll ease mom’s holiday stress.

FOR THE WORLD TRAVELER: Arguably the greatest brew to emerge from Italy’s recent beer renaissance, Baladin Xyauyu is an ode to barleywine and the pinnacle of master brewer Teo Musso’s experiments in oxidation.

FOR THE CHOCOHOLIC: Brewers load Arcadia Cocoa Loco with three varieties of chocolate malt, cocoa nibs and bittersweet chocolate; a bit of lactose makes the beer milkshake-esque.

FOR THE SUSHI LOVER: Brewed with citrus peel and zesty ginger, Michelob Ginger Wheat’s sweet side  begs for a spicy tuna roll.

FOR THE ARTIST: Dark Horse Scotty Karate’s label (drawn by artist James Mestamaker) depicts the behorned Michigan honky-tonker the beer’s named after, and is every bit as wild as the earthy-smoky-fruity Scotch ale inside the bottle.

FOR THE HOP-HEAD: Pale ale fiends will learn to appreciate a different side of hops with Chameleon Hop on Top, which focuses on pine, citrus and floral scents rather than overt bitterness.

FOR THE WINE SNOB: Even seasoned oenophiles might mistake the oaky, green apple- and grape-kissed White Winter Winery Dry Mead for Chardonnay.

FOR THE FOODIE: Wintry nutty brown ales like Leinenkugel’s Fireside Nut Brown are packed with intricacies for foodies to sift through; they also pair excellently with seasonal cheese plates, cookies and charcuterie.

FOR THE BEER GEEK: Nov. 1 marked the annual release of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, a beastly imperial stout that layers caramel, coffee and cocoa notes on top of 98 IBUs.

FOR THE CRAFT-BEER NEWBIE: Reintroduced this spring after a seven-year hiatus, Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager (a Euro-style, dry-hopped pilsner) zings virgin palates with Saaz and Mittelfruh hops.

FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER: Fifty percent of the proceeds from Wynkoop’s crisp, citrusy Silverback Pale Ale benefit Denver-based Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

FOR THE COFFEE LOVER: Steeped in small batches with locally roasted beans, Surly Coffee Bender is a dead ringer for chilled coffee and cream.

FOR YOUR WIFE: Skip the department store, whip up dinner, light some candles and tell your lady you’ll always be true with a bottle of Grand Teton Old Faithful.

FOR THE GREEN FIEND: Tree-huggers can feel good sipping a malty, warming Odell Isolation Ale; the brewery is completely wind-powered, and its trucks run solely on bio-diesel.



Brewery Travels: My Favorite Brewery/Beer from Each State

In my ongoing quest to visit breweries all across this great land, I have now surpassed the 400 mark, and they’ve been spread across 37 states and 175+ cities. To celebrate this landmark, I’ve put together a ‘Special Edition’ of Brewery Travels: A rundown of my favorites in each of the states visited so far.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Midwest Breweries   Midwest Feature   Northeast Breweries   South Breweries   Travel   West Breweries  


Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  

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