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10 Best Holiday Beer Buys of 2012

8. Widmer Brrr Seasonal Ale
Style: Amber ale

You don't have to get too fancy to make someone the perfect holiday gift. The Craft Brew Association (BREW - Get Report) sends its holiday wishes from Oregon with this deep red beauty imbued with the citrusy fragrance of Cascade hops. No need for bitterness this holiday season, as caramel and chocolate malts balance out that bold aroma. The smooth, sweetened flavor and 7.2% ABV make Brrr a perfect beer to warm up with one or two of while the windows frost and the temperatures drop.

7. Pyramid Brewing Snow Cap Ale
Style: English strong ale

This beer jumped the gun and was ready in October, but sneaked in under our watch. We're not sorry about that, as it would have been a shame to leave it out of our holiday party.

At 7.5% ABV, it's the first beer on our list that we might suggest having more than one pint of during your holiday festivities. Teeming with caramel and chocolate malt and underscored with just enough hops to maintain its Pacific Northwest identity, Snow Cap is a smooth warmer that doesn't trap its subtle fruit flavors under a layer of spice. If you're a snob who can't see past Pyramid's North American Breweries connection and dismisses it as non-craft just because it's in the same company as Gennessee, Magic Hat and MacTarnahan's, get over yourself. All you're doing is depriving yourself of a eminently drinkable holiday beer.
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