I’ve had it! I like most of what Lagunitas makes. In fact, I called their 800 number this past summer and talked with someone there for a while. He was jealous over the time difference and the fact that I had already had a few of his offerings.
I don’t know if I’d call it a Christmas beer, but it is seasonal (December), and it is one of my all time favorites. Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. I look forward to its release every year.
For you Brown Shugga fans, you’re out of luck this year. They didn’t have the capacity to make it, so they made Lagunitas Sucks instead as an apology. It’s a Double IPA - very good and very hoppy. I was gifted a six pack taken right off the bottling line by one of my vendors a few days ago, along with some Cap Stout. Sooooo good.
As for Christmas beers specifically, I look forward to Sierra and Anchor Steam as well.
Day six!! As soon as I finish working I have to drive over and get today’s offering:
I was sitting with the publican yesterday and he stopped me from drinking my beer the bartender had just placed in front of me. He explained that he serves beer colder than ideal to suit his average customer. He had my hold the tulip glass in my hand long enough to warm it a bit, then try it. It was good.
Then, he bought a round. He had me try a drink right away, then again after warming. I have to admit, I could identify more of the subtle stuff going on!
For Xmas ales, I tend to those you’ve already mentioned: Bernardus 12, Delirium Noel, Anchor Xmas (after aging 1 year to knock down the spicy flavors), Samisclaus.
For IRS’s, I love Brooklyn Black Chocolate, North Coast’s Rasputin (Never Say Die!), and Big Sky’s Ivan the Terrible. Ivan is a bit lighter in alcohol than the first two, but has incredibly fruity aromas and complexity. Great silky finish. It’s a fave, but extremely hard to find. A bit easier to locate are Stone’s IRSs, which are quite nice, and will age, if not necessarily improve with time. Jester King’s Black Metal IRS is well worth your time too. If Deschutes does a special bottling, my advice is to grab some—love this recent Black XXIII something or other, brewed with cacao and a bunch of other things. In Houston, you can do worse than to try Southern Star’s Buried Hatchet Stout, though I wouldn’t call it an IRS. Oh, and let’s not forget Avery’s Czar IRS. I miss the old version of Redhook’s Starbuck’s stout. If you’re in Seattle, why not try some XXXXX from Pike Brewing? Finally, if you’ve the good fortune to be bouncing around Bar Harbour, Maine, you could find worse to drink than Bar Harbour Brewing Company’s Cadillac Mountain Stout.