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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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LIVE BLOG! The 3rd Annual White Christmas Winter Warmer Beer Extravaganza!

Beerfriend Paul

Tonight Paul and Graham reaffirm their friendship by going out without the other Beer Friends to enjoy a night of Beer and Bourbon at everyone's favorite basement bar, Idle Hands. Tonight The Beer Friends are a day late (or a week) but are NOT a dollar short because The 3rd Annual White Christmas Winter Warmer Beer Extravaganza! is in full swing for the entire holiday season. We missed the first week of this holiday tradition; but good news for us, this is only week #2 of 4. So what if it was 60 degrees earlier this week, Lets get into some Winter Warmers!

Paul's 1st - Two Brothers Northwind: This is the seasonal imperial stout from our favorite brewery from Warrenville Illinois. This is a seemingly average 9 abv for an imperial stout, but it packs a punch. This stout goes down with a smokey flavor that finishes fantastic. It's got a lot of flavor that doesn't linger.

Graham's 1st - Two Brothers Northwind: Roasty! This brew has a coffee, burnt malt flavor to it that is absolutely delicious followed by a slight sweetness that could either be the alcohol (9%) or some other deviousness. A full pint of this could warm ya on any winter's day. Let's hope they put this one out in bottles in NYC soon...

Paul's 2nd - Troegs Mad Elf: This has become a recent favorite during the holiday season. This is a HUGE beer that is VERY tasty. It comes in at 11% abv, it's a Belgian quad brewed with cherries. It's sweet the way Phil would hate, but the rest of you would love... This beer is sweet, sour, and delicious.

Graham's 2nd - Troegs Mad Elf: Quads are some fantastic sort of brews. Add cherries, pump up the alcohol and add some other winters spices and you go from just a quad to some sort of winter warmer quad deliciousness. Which I'm totally into. The slight sweet, tartness compliments the complex mix of other favors bumped up with a warming quality you can't ignore. This is my winter everyday brew. Everyone has one of those right?

Paul's 3rd - Harpoon Winter Warmer + Harpoon Cider = Apple Pies: I've heard bad things about cider beer cocktails, and I understand why. I don't mean bad as in it tastes bad, to the contrary it tastes fantastic. Drink a couple of these in a night and you could be in trouble. It does, as advertised, taste like an Apple pie, and I could drink a couple of these before the cider sweetness had me yearning for something bitter. It a delightful drink that I plan to bring to a couple holiday parties this year.

Graham's 3rd - Harpoon Winter Warmer + Harpoon Cider = Apple Pies: They said it tastes like apple pie...AND it tastes like apple pie! In a really fantastic beer sort of way. Not too sweet, not too spicy and incredibly refreshing. Whoever came up with this combination (Rev) it works fantastically well. Hello Christmas dinner cocktail...

Paul's 4th - Sierra Nevada Celebration: A staple beer at all holiday family functions, this has been a beer I have been very familiar with in my adult life. This is what marks the holiday season for me every year. Sometime after Halloween I pick up my first 6 pack and I begin to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. This has always been lighter than I usually think winter beers would be, but the hop head in me smells the pine hops and it always takes me back to sitting next to the three on Christmas morning,

Enough with the nostalgia, this beer is fantastic! Get some and have a happy holiday season!

Graham's 4th - Sierra Nevada Celebration: Not as I remember it to be. In my memory Celebration was a spiced up dark, strong ale perfect for the winter season but also slightly generic when compared to other winter warmer style brews. This year Sierra Nevada shook things up in a delightfully hoppy way: they hopped the crap out of it. More reminiscent of an IPA than a winter brew with the winter part still noticeably present. It reminds me of an Winter IPA that I attempted, and failed, to brew once. I blamed the style. Thank you Sierra for reinspiring my dreams that such a brew is possible.

Paul's Whiskey taste-Original Moonshine: Another clear whiskey makes a appearance at a $10 Tasting. This is not the same as the last, but the smell and appearance are the same. This is sweet with a stench of booze that goes down smooth but tingles a little on the back end. I'm not terribly familiar with these "moonshines" but this is not as harsh as I would have expected. I certainly enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Graham's Whiskey taste- Original Moonshine: Moonshine is strong. And tastes like strong booze. The smell of this moonshine is almost fruity, being that it's all corn, but the smell doesn't translate to the taste. Light, but fiery, it would warm you if you were dying of hypothermia. Beyond that, buckle down and prepare yourself for a hell raiser of a night with this one.

Check the Calendar at Idlehandsbar.com for more information on each week's $10 Tasting.