By Chris Maza
Usually my rules regarding holidays in the latter months of the year are pretty explicit.
They are as follows: Don't talk to me about Thanksgiving until parents are trying to figure out what they're going to do with the $50 Halloween costume they bought that their kid only wore once and don't talk to me about Christmas until I am preparing to bring leftover turkey sandwiches to work for lunch for the next month.
But with the early-November snowfall, however minimal it was, I am now officially in a winter kind of mood.
That's why I broke down and purchased something I was putting off until after Thanksgiving Merry Mischief, Samuel Adams' holiday offering in their Single Batch series.
Labeled as a gingerbread stout, to me, this beer screams Christmas cheer.
When poured into a glass, the beer is black, jet black, with a brown foamy head that sticks around, making it even look like a tasty dessert.
Before tasting the beer, a whiff of its aroma will actually remind you of a gingerbread cookie as it is laced with hints of sugars and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
The taste also doesn't disappoint, delivering the expected sweetness coupled with an adequate amount of holiday spices and a touch of bitterness to help even everything out.
The beer also has a much lighter "mouthfeel" than its outward appearance would suggest, making it something that even those who aren't keen on the heavy profile associated with a lot of stouts could enjoy.
This just might be on my holiday desert menu this year.
Lefty's Brewing Company, which is located in Greenfield, has quickly established itself as a strong local beer company with an increasingly good reputation.
Their Coffee Porter, made with organic and fair trade coffee, is a treat, as is their Irish Stout and Maple Ale, a seasonal brew.
For those in this area who have yet to try Lefty's, your chance has arrived.
The Beer Shop, located in the plaza on Harkness Avenue next to Peppa's Pizza in East Longmeadow, is hosting a tasting of Lefty's beers on Nov. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.
For more information on Lefty's and this event, check out www.leftysbrew.com
While I normally focus on local and regional beer companies with the column, I have to mention something regarding a brewer from outside our area.
Stone Brewing Company, located in Escondido, Calif., is maybe my favorite American brewing company and I am very excited about its "Enjoy By" India Pale Ale (IPA) series.
The premise is simple the beer must be found and enjoyed within 35 days of its bottling. After that, it's gone. It's an ingenious way to spark even greater interest in what has been a company with a terrific lineup of beers.
The next batch, of which a small amount was recently leaked, was the Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA.
Stone has a great reputation when it comes to IPAs and if the world is really going to end, I have to think they have pulled out all the stops, which is hard to imagine, considering the devastating effects their Ruination IPA has on your palate for about a week afterward (It's a good thing, trust me).
If you find this in the store, then you see a 240-pound man closing in to tackle you for it, it's probably me.
Don't say I didn't warn you.