How do you get a grip on the terrible anxiety caused by the holiday shopping season? With beer, naturally. There’s certain refuge in boozy, heady, mind-numbing beers. More so when they come in big bottles. And these five recently released, large-format winter warmers will surely help you through all maddening aspects of spending a day in retail hell. Happy tippling.
LONG TRAIL BREWING CO. CULMINATION
Nothing says wintertime like an inky black imperial porter with a pillowy head. And the newest addition to Long Trail’s Brush & Barrel Series cloaks you in the richness of roasted chocolate. You might even consider topping a hearty pour with a dollop of whipped cream. But whatever you do, put down the Christmas list, break out the snifter, and enjoy this malty, wintery beer. It’s joy in a glass.
SAMUEL ADAMS MERRY MAKER GINGERBREAD STOUT
From the added expense of buying gifts to the almost unavoidable last minute shopping spree, it’s difficult to feel jolly under such pressure. Sam Adams’ seasonal release Merry Maker—with a label depicting three boisterous gingerbread men sledding down a snowy hill—is here for you. The chewy full body stout smells of dark, ripened fruit, molasses and chocolate with a spicy cinnamon finish and a tinge of nutmeg. That unmistakable taste of gingerbread and high alcohol content will make you feel merry. Go figure.
SEBAGO BREWING CO. BARLEY WINE
Sebago Brewing’s 4th annual barleywine was released just in time for holiday libations. Aged in charred oak bourbon barrels months before it lined store shelves, this dark silky brew tastes of marshmallow, fudge and burnt raisins with a prominent bourbon flavor that expands to the back of your throat and into your chest. At an intoxicating 10.3% ABV, this dangerously drinkable ale will help take the pressure off finding something—anything—for that hard-to-shop-for person. Mostly because you’ll be drunk.
SHIPYARD BREWING COMPANY MINT CHOCOLATE STOUT
What’s impossible: snagging an open spot in a disorderly mall parking lot where it’s every man for himself. Not impossible: snagging the newest brew in Shipyard’s Signature Series to ease the parking pains. A thick pour of this robust dark chocolate, minty stout will beg you to put your car keys down, crack open a bomber, and let the cool spearmint coat your palate like fresh snow on a Maine mountaintop, where shopping malls are scarce and crammed parking lots are scarcer.
BERKSHIRE BREWING COMPANY HOLIDALE
Brewed with a unique recipe each year, this barelywine-style ale boasts aromas of coffee, hot chocolate, raisins, and figs with a lingering fruitcake finish. Clocking in at 8.5% ABV, it’s ideal after a day spent waiting in excruciatingly long checkout lines. A few pours from the 22 oz bomber and that will hurt less. Especially if you do it while in line.