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12 Beers of Christmas | Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper

12 Beers of Christmas | Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper
Brady Akers

ABV: 10.5%

When the weather outside gets frightful, a nice big imperial stout can be very delightful, but you should be sure that you’ve got no place to go. For me, one of my favorite big imperial stouts during the holiday season is Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper. Like sweet baby Jesus, Santa’s Little Helper is pure and good in every way. The beer doesn’t have any “holiday seasoning” in it, which is a nice break after pumpkin beer season to avoid nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, etc.

The artwork on the label sets the tone of the beer. A blacked-out (in the most literal sense of the word) Santa is sitting at a bar with Rudolph, enjoying a brew poured from a candy cane tap. The label used to include an image of cartoon Santa, but some states banned Santa on beer labels to prevent children from wanting to drink the likes of this 10.5% monster.

Pouring this coal-black brew into a glass, I instantly know that I have made the coveted nice list. The aroma of sweet chocolate and roasted coffee fills the air and an inviting layer of nougaty-colored head protects the thick darkness that fills my glass. Letting the beer sit, I was impressed how the foam does not dissipate: It just sits there like snow on a rooftop.

The smell of Santa’s Little Helper was not deceiving at all. The initial taste packed a punch of cocoa and coffee with a big, sweet, boozy kick. While the label says that I should get a touch of hops, the roasty, chocolaty sweetness and alcohol warmth shine too bright. The mouthfeel is extremely heavy in an amazing “Santa’s present bag is too heavy” way. As the beer warms, the sweetness fades just a little and a bitter espresso flavor takes over. Hopefully you share this beer with some amazing friends, as drinking it solo could lead to decisions that put you immediately on the naughty list.

Santa’s Little Helper is one of my absolute favorite holiday beers to seek out. It is extremely affordable (less than $10 for a 22 oz. bottle in Colorado) and gives a huge bang for the buck. Warm your holiday spirits without burning through all your holiday cash and make Santa’s Little Helper your next holiday tradition.

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