MIX-A-SIX (OR -FOUR) There are countless ways to go with mixes: Select some of the best of Belgium (the aforementioned Duvel, Chimay, Delirium Tremens, La Chouffe, and toast the season with the dark delights of a 750ml bottle of St. Bernardus' Christmas Ale). Grab beers with Santa on the label or Christmas in the name (Santa's Private Reserve from Rogue, Lagunitas' Holiday Ale, Ridgeway's Santa's Butt, Hoppin' Frog's Frosted Frog Christmas Ale, Anchor's 37th terrific annual Christmas Ale). Cross the border to MA and get some mixes from Founders (Breakfast Stout, Red's Rye IPA, Curmudgeon, and Centennial IPA), Dogfish Head (60-Minute, 90-Minute, Chicory Stout), Boulevard (a four-pack of Dark Truth Stout, Double-Wide IPA, Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, and the Sixth Glass Belgian dark strong ale will bring some comfort and joy), or Tröegs (DreamWeaver, HopBack, Mad Elf, Sunshine Pils). Call some dogs (Flying Dog, Sea Dog, Old Brown Dog). See red (Green Flash's Hop Head Red, Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale, North Coast's Red Seal, Oskar Blues' G'Knight Imperial Red). Or don't mix anything and pick up seasonal standouts like Sierra Nevada's Celebration (I cannot get enough of that; that's not a hint) and Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA.
11 You should know about this one by now. It's the ultimate local beer gift for Xmas 2011, the Newport Storm beer made with the brewers from Trinity, Coddington, Mohegan Cafe, Union Station, with local hops and honey and a clamshell or three from Third Beach (just kidding about that last item). It's a fantastic melange, a mutant Belgian strong ale/kinda barleywine, in a striking cobalt blue 750ml bottle (the usual vessel for Newport Storm's annual offerings), topped with a cork and sealed with wax, for about $13. These are getting scarce — only 3000 were distributed — so grab it now.
IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS On a real tight budget? Head to Ocean State Job Lot and get a few Samuel Adams Pint Glasses (sometimes dubbed "the perfect beer glass") for $1.50 each. Most of the rims have a small bubble and the paint comes off real fast but, hey, the price is right!
ETC.Still shopping? Grab some ultra-fresh beer in 64-ounce growlers at Trinity Brewhouse, Union Station, or Coddington. Or present an IOU for a beer dinner at Julian's, the Oak Hill Tavern (Mayflower on February 7), or English Cellar Alehouse. Or . . . .
OK, we're outta space. Go make with the merry.
ONE MORE THING The voting is over, and Narragansett's new brew is Cream Ale. More than 1000 people weighed in to chose the smooth style over the Rye Ale. 'Gansett's first year-round craft offering will debut in March.
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