The 12 Beers of Christmas

Happy Holidays from the Shavlik Team! Many offices have secret Santa or cookie exchanges. We at Shavlik started a different tradition about seven years ago. We call it the “Not another cookie exchange”. Each person in the exchange brings 12 beers, either the same or different. There are certain rules to the exchange, but the most important is if you bring mediocre beer, you leave with mediocre beer. We end up with a variety of craft beer, imports, and limited edition brews from a variety of breweries. This year, I asked the team to share their favorite beer. Below is our list of 12 beers for Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Chris, Product Manager
Favorite Beer: St Bernardus ABT 12
Style: Belgian Quad
ABV: 10%
Description: The closest thing you will find to a Westvleteren 12 (yes I have had it and it would be my favorite, if only it were more accessible). ABT 12 is a lot easier and cheaper to come by. A well balanced Belgian Quad with subtle hints of fruit.

Brent, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.4%
Description: Highly hopped and tastes like grapefruit and other fruits when fresh. An ode to Citra.

Jason, Content Team
Favorite Beer: Surly Wet
Style: West Coast Style India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.50%
Description: To get hops any fresher, you would have to walk out into a field and pick them yourself. Surly has freshly-picked Cascade, Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops shipped in and brewed wet within a few days. This results in an incredibly fresh multi-faceted hop-forward beer.

Bob, Territory Sales Manager
Favorite Beer: Founders Breakfast Stout (Da baby!!)
Style: American Double Imperial Stout (Fall seasonal)
ABV: 8.3%
Description: Brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. This beer is as dark as they come, but don’t be afraid, looks can be deceiving. There is a hint of Kona bean when pouring. However, the taste starts with a deep coffee flavor and ends with a chocolate Stout finish. This beer rocks and is released in the fall, and is only sold through the holidays, or until supplies give out. This way you can look forward to having it again the next season.

Steve, Senior Director of Sales
Favorite Beer: Chimay Blue
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 9%
Description: Made by Trappist monks in a monastery in Belgium. The beer is brewed with water pulled from a 500 year old well in the monastery. Dark, malty with hints of caramel and clove and has a smoky, chocolaty finish. This is not a beer to throw back at a party. This Belgium masterpiece is best enjoyed in an isolation chamber so no other sense can sully the experience.

Andy, Senior Principal Engineer
Favorite Beer: Bad Axe from Big Wood Brewery
Style: Imperial / Double IPA
ABV: 9.8%
Description: 2013 Rochester Craft Beer Expo winner for Best Beer! This one might take a few trees down without trying. It’s the one all the lady axes think they can change. He might be a tough guy in the flannel shirt who tears off bottle caps with his teeth, but don’t worry he’s easy to get along with. Brewed with a mix of Columbus and Centennial hops, it pours pale amber and goes down surprisingly easy. Well, maybe not so surprising, considering it’s from Big Wood Brewery.

Travis, Director of Quality Assurance
Favorite Beer: Russian River’s Pliney the Elder
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Description: Best tasting beer I have ever had. I think the secret is the Simcoe hops.

Rob, VP of R&D (and living evidence that not all of us at Shavlik are beer snobs)
Favorite Beer: Coors Light (rated 0 on ratebeer, just saying… Author bias showing a bit here)
Style: Light Lager (who drinks a light lager???)
ABV: 4.20% (At least it wasn’t a 3.2 beer, although I suppose it comes in 3.2% so they can sell in stores on Sunday)
Description: The Silver Bullet of beers won’t slow you down! This tried and true beer is about good taste balanced with low-calories. For Ice Hockey players worldwide, this is the official beer of the rink. While it’s nothing fancy, you can count on it, especially in those instances where you are going for volume over flavor. With a crisp taste and a coldness indicator that lets you know if your beer is cold enough, there is no going wrong. (*sigh* our fearless leader. Crappy taste, but he sells it doesn’t he? FYI no correlation to our products. Only true awesomeness there!)

Anne, Product Manager
Favorite Beer: Surly Cynic
Style: Saison
Description: It’s overrated. Beer snobs don’t really know anything. All beer is the same. That guy who recommended Coors Light probably really gets it. If you feel this way, Surly Cynic is just the beer for you. This sharp Belgian will make even the most extreme cynics feel warm and fuzzy after one or two. Enjoy.

Mike, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: Surly Furious
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
Description: I usually search out beers I have not had before, but I would say Surly Furious is a beer I could always fall back on. If you like hops, this is the beer (IBU:99).

Mark, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%
Description: A great Bourbon Stout. Big malty, sweet chocolate flavor with espresso and vanilla aroma, and a nice bourbon whiskey finish. Keeps you warm on a cold Minnesota winter night.

Matt, Principle Engineer
Favorite Beer: Lift Bridge Brewery Harvestor Fresh Hop Pale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
Description: Beer Advocate has it all wrong for this year’s batch. This was way better than any 85 I’ve tried. I had the pleasure of drinking it in the Lift Bridge tap room. It was near perfect this year. The Hop farm is 7 miles from my house, this was as fresh and local as it gets!