Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 7 Days to Go!

Today’s the last Saturday before Christmas, which means you’re probably juggling more than one holiday party this weekend. But instead of arriving with another bottle of wine in tow, why not gift your hosts an exceptional bottle of beer? Any of the brews from the following mixed six-pack will ensure an invite back to next year’s parties.

Affligem Noël
Opwijk, Belgium, 9% ABV
Brewed by monks from an abbey that was founded in 1074, this bottle-conditioned strong ale is a flavorful mix of rum-soaked raisins, orange-scented chocolate and Christmas spices.

Deschutes The Abyss
Bend, OR, 11% ABV
This barrel-aged imperial stout goes down easy with its rich, malty notes of dark molasses, licorice and spice. Released each November, this wax-capped bottle is one to revisit year after year.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Chicago, IL, 13% ABV
Bourbon and beer prove to be an ideal match in this dark, imperial stout that’s been aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Chocolaty and intense, this brew offers up notes of toasted wood, vanilla and a touch of smoke.

New Belgium Frambozen
Fort Collins, CO, 6.5% ABV
This beautiful brown ale offers loads of rich fruity flavors from raspberries picked in the Pacific Northwest, all underscored by a solid malty backbone. This is a great special-occasion beer and a perfect gift.

Vorchdorf, Austria, 14% ABV
The name alone implies a joyous holiday season, which is partially why this Bavarian doppelbock is one of the most beloved holiday beers. Brewed each year on December 6 and allowed to slowly ferment before being bottled and released the following year, you’ll find sweet notes of raisins, toffee, plums and loads of warming spice.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Chico, CA, 9.6% ABV
This bold barleywine is at once malty and hoppy, with assertive notes of dark chocolate, molasses and dried fruits. And, it’s another great candidate for cellaring, if its recipients can resist that long.