It's holiday beer season, and for some reason, I've annually made the habit of trying a few Christmas and Holiday beers, even though I don't do much celebrating this time of year.
Most, but not all christmas and holiday beers seem to fall into the brown or darker categories, and quite a few of them are from Belgium, where there's a tradition of Christmas ales (strong dark belgians brewed with spices and warming levels of alcohol).
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale - 10% ABV, the alcohol is well hidden in this fruity and lightly spiced, sweet amber-brown concoction by one of my favorite belgian breweries. The fruitiness is vaguely raisins and figs, and some of the sweetness evokes toffee and caramel. Dry finish and a hint of candi sugar.
Anchor Christmas Ale, 2010 - the Anchor Brewing Company makes a new beer every year. This one had quite a bit of plum and raisin in the aroma and taste, with a nice sweetness that played up the dark fruit flavor, but also let a hint of roasted nuts and chocolate peek through before ending nicely balanced.