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HOLIDAY GUIDE

The 12th beer of Christmas

Nothing says Happy Holidays quite like a carbonated alcoholic beverage

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Beer is a timeless gift, appropriate for any occasion (birthdays, moving days, post-sexytime days) and in any form (oh yes, even Natty Ice is currency in my book). But if you really want to show your love, consider getting me a copper-clad, brew kettle-shaped, hand-numbered carafe of Samuel Adams Utopias (onetime world record holder for strongest beer, at 27 percent alcohol by volume). Blended from 18 years’ worth of barrel-aged high-gravity beers, the uncarbonated amber liquid has taste notes of dark fruit, wood and vanilla; said to resemble fine cognac, it can be aged for years to add to its complexity.

Now, even my closest friends might be a little hard-pressed to shell out the $150 for a bottle (more if you have to resort to eBay), so as every good boy knows, you tell Santa what you want most, but you also give the old guy some pennywise options so he doesn’t strangle a reindeer in a fit of sticker shock. So, also on my list would be our own Orlando Brewing’s Anisocoria gift box, containing a 12-ounce bottle of its 18-percent ABV barleywine and two collector’s drinking goblets. The beer is an impressive single-malt ale that leaps onto your tongue with dark toffee, raisin, bread and rum-like alcohol, but mellows with a full-bodied mouthfeel into a rich, malty and memorable quaff. And at $30 it’s less of a heart-stopper (for the gift giver, anyway).

Paul Hiebing is a freelancer forOrlando Weekly andDrink magazine. He likes beer so much that he brews his own.

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