‘Tis the season for delicious winter brews

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it’s important to reflect on the aspects of life that truly matter the most: friends, family and the spectacular brews that make conversation with extended relatives tolerable.

This week, I’ll be rattling off some of my favorite heavyweight brews that will help you keep your cool as Aunt Martha and Great Uncle Freddy ask about your grades, love life, political views and future career plans for the trillionth time.

New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk (10%). Although this bewitching monster of a brew is available year-round, winter’s chill makes it all the better. Dragon’s Milk boasts a notable dark chocolate and fruit profile, full of warm cocoa and fig tones. I can easily see myself in a cozy chair beside a crackling fire with a good book and this beer within the next few months. Keep an eye out for the 2014 bottles  at 11%.

Hammerheart Brewing Thor’s Imperial Porter (9.5%) . I’ve only had this beer once and it made me swoon. This drink is full of a unique smokiness that scorches the throat before chasing the burn with the smooth thickness of a well-crafted porter. The Norse god himself would be proud to share his namesake with this tremendous brew.

West Sixth’s Christmas Ale (9%).  This one stands out far beyond the rest for me. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are the name of the game for this local Lexington treasure. It’s impossible not to feel the warmth of the Christmas spirit coursing through your veins while sipping this beer. I hope I’m on Santa’s “Nice List” this year, because all I asked for was a lifetime supply of this  brew.

Southern Tier’s Choklat (10%). It doesn’t take a professionally trained beerologist to appreciate the thorough tour of chocolate’s many finer qualities that Choklat provides to the drinker. Dark chocolate, sweet chocolate, fudge and cocoa chocolate, Choklat has it all. Don’t miss an opportunity  to sample this nectar of the gods.

Brewmeister Snake Venom (67.5%). I must confess, I’ve never had the honor of sampling this soul-crushing beauty in real life. According to the lucky few who have tried Snake Venom, the world’s strongest beer makes no apologies; even the bottle’s label suggests avoiding more than 35 milliliters in one sitting. If anyone wants to help shoulder the whopping $80 price tag for one of these bottles of mass destruction, please contact me immediately.

With any luck, this list of bombshell brews will make your holidays and extended family substantially more enjoyable this year. You never know, Aunt Martha and Great Uncle Freddy might be beer snobs just like you.