4. Nutcracker Ale
Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, Mo.
Listen, Kansas City, we know this is going to be a tough winter. We know you might be on edge after Boulevard was sold to Duvel and placed into the hands of owners an ocean away in Belgium.
That's understandable, especially considering the brewery had become synonymous with your town and so intrinsically tied with it that it got the big-beer treatment during Royals games at Kaufmann Stadium. But there's a lot of upside here. First off, everybody at the brewery kept their jobs and won't have that looming over their heads this Christmas. Secondly, Duvel's done a great job with Brewery Ommegang in New York and is still a family-run company. There are no board meetings, no multiple headquarters in different nations and no stock tickers.Lastly, you still have all your great beer being made in the same fashion it was under the original owners. That means the bottles of Nutcracker that just hit shelves this month are still filled with the dark brown, malty mix of toffee, caramel and molasses that they've been on holidays past. There's still that little hint of spice from the Chinook hops, there's still the brown sugar poured right into the mix and there's still that powerful 7.8% alcohol to keep you warm. There's no need for a blue Christmas when you're still getting everything that's on your list.