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Five Holiday Beers for the End of 2012

Anchor Holiday Brew

The tradition of special holiday beer is one that goes back as long as there has been both holidays and beer. Typically richer and darker with higher alcohol, and possibly some kind of fruit or spice added to the brew, holiday beers are one of the best things about this time of the year. For wrapping gifts, decorating trees, or entertaining in-laws, we highly recommend cracking open one of these seasonal craft brews.
 
San Diego-based Karl Strauss challenged Bay Area breweries dominance of craft beer when it began distributing in the north coast earlier this year.  Strauss is celebrating 2012 with the Mouette à Trois, what they call a holiday fruitcake ale. Brewed with apricot, cherry and a blend of spices, it makes a much better gift than an actual fruitcake.

At 9.2 percent abv, we can’t recommend swapping out your morning cup of Joe, but the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, brewed with one pound of coffee per barrel, will certainly wake up your palate at least. Rich but not heavy, with wonderful roasted coffee aromas, it’s great with dessert.

Nothing says holiday cheer like a giant bottle of beer. And Anchor Steam knows this. Two thousand twelve marks the 37th Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and while each year the recipe and the label change, the fact that it is available in magnums, thankfully, has not.

Should you find yourself shopping the boutiques of Healdsburg this month, take a load off at Bear Republic. Honoring the Scottish lineage of brew master Richard Norgrove, the Heritage Ale is made with Scottish malts and East Kent hops and is available on draft only at their taproom just off the Plaza.   

There’s something incredibly comforting about the appearance of Sierra Nevada’s Celebration ale in the grocery store’s refrigerated case. Perhaps because it appears just as the first real chill of winter settles in or perhaps because it is consistently one of the best winter beers around. (Or maybe it’s that cozy-looking cabin on the label) Whatever the reason, it greats straight-forward brew for your entire hibernation.