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TheStreet Open House

5 Best Holiday Beers Available Before Halloween

PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- Before you complain about holiday decorations appearing in stores in September or candy corn already being nudged out of supermarket aisles by candy canes, try drinking a seasonal beer this time of year.

Going through the email at this site's beer division is like diving headlong into the new releases cooler at your local bottle shop. It's a who's-who of seasonal beers and a good reminder of just how far along you are in the calendar. One particular brewer was kind enough to send along an invitation to the launch party for its dark, rich, spicy winter warmer.

The date of that party? Oct. 5.

C'mon, people. We understand that your breweries are slaves to the brewing cycle and have to release these beers early to get them out fresh and make sure there's very little left once the new year arrives. As Boston Beer (SAM) founder Jim Koch told us about Samuel Adams' Fezziwig winter warmer last year:

"The basic reason -- and it's not that we can't get enough of the ginger or cinnamon or anything -- is that freshness is a big deal for us and this is a beer that has a season. Beer at its foundation is a performance art that exists in the moment of its creation and that's it, and Fezziwig is very much in that situation of being perfect for a certain time."

But, seriously, October? Samuel Adams doesn't launch its holiday beers until November, but that hasn't stopped holiday beers from appearing on shelves. We have drinkers who still aren't done with this year's fresh hop offerings. There are still going to be Halloween parties featuring refrigerators packed with pumpkin ale.

While we're unsure if we approve of this holiday creep into our local beer coolers, there are great holiday beers available for folks who are already in the spirit. We went looking for early signs of the season and found five beers that won't make you endure 23 hours of A Christmas Story or 12,000 plays of All I Want For Christmas Is You before you can enjoy them:

5. Ninkasi Sleigh'r
Style: Altbier

Don't call it a holiday "ale."

This top-fermented beast is strictly old, Teutonic altbier. At 7.2% alcohol by volume it's as hard as Reign In Blood, War Ensemble or any of the other double-bass driven sonic assaults produced by its namesake metal band Slayer.

Ninkasi calls it a "dark double alt," but this gut warmer is just a high-octane dark brew built to keep drinkers warm on cold winter nights and get the blood boiling quicker than a thrash-metal solo.

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