Beer Brain: Mikkeller’s Santa’s Little Helper 
Beer: Santa’s Little Helper (Belgian Strong Ale with spices)
Brewery: Mikkeller, Copenhagen, Denmark
ABV: 10.9 %

Tasting Notes: With a dark brownish-black color and gorgeous head made up of tiny aromatic bubbles, this beer is as welcoming as a warm fire in winter. It has a viscous mouthfeel and punches you in the mouth with a boozy blast and heavy notes of chocolate. That’s followed by hints of nutmeg, licorice, and a bit of dried fruit — all expected from a holiday ale.

Pairing Ideas: As cliched as it may sound, this would go wonderfully with a big slice of fruitcake. The spices and dried fruits would echo the flavors in the beer and they would be a match made in beer heaven. Or don’t pair it with anything; the thickness and flavor nearly make it a meal in a glass. There’s no good reason this shouldn’t be a liquid breakfast option on Christmas morning.

Mikkeller is one of the world’s premier breweries, yet they are not a brewery in the same sense that most American breweries exist. As an extreme gypsy brewer, Mikkeller has the majority of its beer made at other facilities by other brewers following the recipes and instructions of Mikkel Borg Bjergso, head brewer and namesake of Mikkeller. That doesn’t stop them from putting out a prolific roster of inventive and thoughtful beers.

This beer is a great winter warmer, a big and robust ale full of flavors and the ability to warm the soul (er, get you drunk). It tastes and smells like Christmas and comes in a big enough bottle to share with the ones you love.