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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...
Ho-ho-holy cow; only FIVE DAYS LEFT until Christmas is upon us. How did the time go by so fast, and how do you not have your Christmas shopping finished yet?

Sorry if we put you on the spot. It's okay if you're still shopping. In fact, we're in the same boat. Fortunately, we have a warehouse full of fantastic winter beers that make excellent gifts. Beer as a gift? Absolutely. Here are a few of our favorites that are guaranteed to spread cheer and even put a smile on grumpy Uncle Larry's face.

Leinenkugel's limited release of Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is back in full effect this year after being out of stand-alone circulation for a while. In fact, it was demanded so much, one Leinie-lover even started a petition on to get it back on the shelves. 
Hats off to you, Matt S. of Pierson, MI (we don't know if he had anything to do with it, really, but we appreciate the effort), and cheers to Leinenkugel's for reloading our Christmas wish list.

The Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is a robust porter style beer that's aged on real vanilla, surrounded by hints of cocoa, coffee and caramel. It's smooth and creamy, and hearty enough to sidle up to the Christmas dinner, pairing well with marshmallow sweet potato casserole, glazed ham and any combination of chocolate and cherry. Grab this limited release while you can, as it doesn't stick around long!

ABV: 6.0%     IBU: 16

Mother's Brewing in Springfield, MO cranks out great beer year-round, but an argument can be made that no beer is celebrated as much as their annual release of Winter Grind. We move it out as quick as we get it in, thanks to all the Winter Grind love in Southeast Missouri!

Winter Grind is all about the coffee, from the first scent out of the bottle to the last drip from your glass. This is all wrapped around an English dry stout sitting at 6% ABV, so yes, you can have a couple bottles and still not embarrassingly barrel into Christmas karaoke at the office party.

The mentality at Mother's is one of grassroots and local sourcing, and so Winter Grind is made with roasted-to-order espresso beans from Mudhouse Coffee (literally just six blocks down the road). They use 1.5 lbs of beans per barrel, so you can count on serious flavor.

ABV: 6.0%    IBU: 18

Santa Fe Brewing Co may be relatively new to our offerings, but they've been in the brewing biz since 1988. Needless to say, they know their stuff when it comes to great beers.

We're proud that we have quite a good selection of Santa Fe brews to bring to Southeast Missouri, and here's a quick glance at several we suggest. Remember, cans make fantastic stocking stuffers!

While we're on the subject of coffee beers, dig in on their Imperial Java Stout. With generous quantities of barley malt and locally roasted organic beans, the IJS takes coffee stout to the next level with a hearty flavor palate, pairing well with vanilla ice cream (floats, anyone?), tiramisu, or tangy cheeses like English cheddar and gorgonzola.
ABV: 8%    IBU: 50

The Happy Camper IPA is a well balanced IPA, brewed specifically for that balance. It's a combination of simcoe, bravo, amarillo, summit and citra hops, and pairs well with spicy foods or grilled meats (hey, not everyone has snow on Christmas).
ABV: 6.6%    IBU: 82

If you're not familiar with Santa Fe Brewing, one thing of note is the old, abandoned penitentiary of New Mexico that is right down the street from the brewery. They adore the old pen so much, they named a delicious brew after it: the State Pen Porter.
It's a dark, full-bodied porter with hints of roasted chocolate and raisin, and offers your tastebud a complexity that will leave you wanting more. 
ABV: 6.4%    IBU: 50

With a can that's basically dressed up in a festive Christmas sweater, the Santa Fe Adobe Igloo is their New Mexican answer to the classic Winter Warmer: dark red, full bodied, and malty.  Traditionally balanced with extra hops or a Wintery spice blend, Santa Fe instead drew on their culinary heritage and focused on cacao nibs and red chile flakes. Offering chile flavor without heat and dusty raw cocoa rather than sweet chocolate, Adobe Igloo’s intriguing complexity will keep you coming back, sip after warming sip.
ABV: 6.0%    IBU: 18

Big Muddy Brewing, based in Murphysboro, IL, is a backyard favorite around here, and their Vanilla Stout is a delicious milk stout infused with pure Madagascar vanilla. The vanilla isn't overwhelming, and so you won't get the "beer burn" from this smooth-finishing beer, only fantastic flavor.  ABV: 6.0%

Our friends at Boulevard Brewing Co have an incredible line of varied brews, and here are just a few that fit nicely under the tree.

The Boulevard Pale Ale is their "original," with the first keg produced on November 17, 1989. It was celebrated with a full play of Motley Crue's Doctor Feelgood album and a couple hours on the Sega Genesis.
The Pale Ale is a smooth, fruity, well-balanced beer with year-round appeal. A variety of caramel malts impart a rich flavor and amber color, while liberal use of Cascade hops adds zest and aroma. It's a great choice for someone that should probably be drinking better beer than you see them holding while they watch the kids tear into the gifts.
ABV: 5.4%    IBU: 30

Stepping it up to a bit of a hoppier choice, we have their Single-Wide IPA. It's an American IPA that is Boulevard's take on a style that originated in 18th century Great Britain. Don't get confused; it's still an American, through and through, with six varieties of hops coming together in this great beer.
ABV: 5.7%    IBU: 57

Something new to Southeast Missouri this year is the Bully! Porter, Boulevard's take on a classic English porter. The intense flavors of dark-roasted malt are perfectly balanced by a generous and complex hop character. Bully! Porter’s robust nature makes it the ideal companion to a variety of foods, from seafood to chocolate.
ABV: 6.0%    IBU: 49
There are a lot of great beers that leave our warehouses every day, and they all make great Christmas gifts, so these are just a few suggestions to get you started. Hit up your favorite retail spot for your share, and make everyone happy this Christmas!
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