Editor's Note: To help you get in the spirit, we'll be featuring a Christmas beer or a Winter Warmer every day for 12 days. Got a favorite seasonal brew? Let us know in the comments.
If you're looking for a classic Christmas beer, you're probably thinking spices: cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. But the ideal version shouldn't feel dusty or overloaded with seasoning; the flavors should be integrated. The Christmas Ale from Sly Fox is close to what we hope for in this sort of beer—the spice (the whole kaboodle of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and clove) is flavorful but not overwhelming, and fits nicely into the caramel-malt and figgy flavors of the beer.
Though the scent of this beer hints at bananas Foster, this Christmas ale is drier and lighter-bodied than you'd expect, with the toffee sweetness just coming out at the long, lingering finish. "This is like the chai of beers," commented one taster, "but it works."
Serve at a holiday party with spiced nuts, pigs in a blanket, little caramelized-onion tarts, and dates wrapped in bacon.
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