Last weekend a few buddies and I did what we do almost every holiday season and that's drink way too many high-alcohol winter seasonals in an effort to find the year's best. The process is simple: a blind head-to-head taste test with multiple rounds determines the winner. Appoint a non-participant to pour beers and fill out bracketed voting results. Also plan on having snacks, water and a swill bucket for throw-outs.
As far as curation, rather than round up every winter warmer available, which we've done before with mixed results, this year we opted for six well-respected seasonal brews. If the net is cast too wide it turns into a sloppy all-night affair. Plus, your palate is so blown out after an hour, it's all you can do to discern the difference between an IPA and a dark double malt ale. Call your pals and set a date. Happy tasting. (Our winner: HUB Abominable Winter Ale)