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How to be a ‘good elf’

Some proper tips from UK brewer Daniel Thwaites, which created a beer called “Good Elf” for the holiday . . .

A press release in 2009 describes it: “mahogany coloured beer has big, rich overtones of nuttiness, balanced with a light fruit flavour and delicate hop aroma – a festive twist to the traditional toast between family and friends.”

Meanwhile the brewery’s tips for how to be a good elf (we left the British spelling intact):

1. The first step to being a good elf is to acquire the appropriate attire. Anyone can find these special garments during the Christmas season. You will know the perfect pieces when you see them. They will catch your eye and you will find yourself smiling as you look at them and feel good when you picture yourself wearing them.

2. The best elf costumes always have a few small bells sewn into the design. Bells should always be small and only leave just a slight sound as you perform your secret good elf deeds. Bells placed in just the right spots will make a sound but make it hard for people to detect exactly where the sound is coming from!

3. The very best of elves are full of mystery. They secretly perform good deeds and hardly ever get caught! They work in the full light of day and also under the cover of night. The more good things you can get away with in secret, the higher the rank you will earn among the other elves. If you are really good and lucky at not getting caught doing good deeds you could become a fully fledged Santa’s Helper!

4. Santa’s Helper elves are good at recruiting new elves and teaching them their tricks. They change the world for the better by increasing the actual volume of good deeds being preformed everywhere! They make it a Christmas ritual to add fun and magic to the lives of others and many of them carry the spirit in their heart throughout the entire year, performing good deeds every single day.

5. Santa’s Helper elves are very special and do great deeds. They are experienced in keeping secrets and excellent at covering their tracks. It really is the highest honour!

Daniel Thwaites has operated as a family-run brewery since 1807.

Shmaltz launches photo contest

Shmaltz menorah winnerShmaltz Brewing has launched the 2nd Annual “Build Your Own Beer Menorah” photo contest with the limited-edition release of the HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack featuring eight prized Shmaltz creations (Chanukah candles and Beer Menorah instructions are included in each Gift Pack).

Shmatz invites entrants to send images to Winning photos will be posted on Shmaltz’s Facebook page following the final night of Chanukah 2011.

In honor of its 15th year of brewing, Shmaltz is releasing three Limited-Edition Extreme Offerings, including Genesis 15:15® (13.4% ABV), the HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack featuring eight prized Shmaltz creations, and Jewbelation 15 (15 malts, 15 hops, 15% ABV). Shmaltz proprietor Jeremy Cowan’s debut small business memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, is also now available at bookstores nationwide.

Breckenridge Christmas Ale

Breckenridge Christmas AlePackaging Breckenridge Brewery’s Christmas Ale into liter gift bottles is an annual tradition at the brewery. The time has come again, as the employees gather to hand label a limited supply of the bottles for availability starting this week at the Denver brewery’s tasting room and at select liquor stores throughout Colorado. Each of the brewery’s “elves” is noted on the back of the label, and proof of their personal touch can be found in the occasional, and refreshingly human, imperfection in the label placement.

In 1993, Breckenridge Brewery first introduced Christmas Ale and has been brewing the same recipe for the holiday season since. Its spicy characteristics of this ale come from the Chinook and Mt. Hood hops. 7.4% alcohol by volume.

Newcastle Winter IPA

Newcastle Winter IPANewcastle Brown Ale’s Winter IPA is the newest offering in the brewery’s Limited Edition series.

“Newcastle Brown Ale has a rich history of carefully crafted and highly drinkable beers, and our partnership with the Caledonian Brewery for the Limited Edition series continues this tradition,” said Charles van Es, brand director Newcastle Brown Ale. “From the authentic recipe to the small batch brewing in open copper kettles, everything about our Winter IPA is a salute to original British IPAs. It’s our way of helping make the long winter months a little more palatable.”

Winter IPA is restrained compared to most India Pale Ales brewed in the United States, laying spicy, herbal Super Styrian and Styrian Goldings hops on top of a solid malt base. Aromas and flavors including caramel, toffee and fruit mingle pleasantly.

The beer includes 5.2 alcohol by volume and has 28 bitterness units.

$10 off Rare Beer Club order

The Rare Beer Club must have impressed Fast Company magazine, because it featured the club in its December/January issue, stating:

“Offering beer as a token of holiday goodwill can be tricky. It’s gauche to put a six-pack under the tree, and nothing says ‘I forgot’ like a brown bag with a ribbon around its neck.”

Each month, members receive two different 750 ml selections, many of which are corked and caged, and Gift Memberships available from 2-12 months to fit any budget. And the club is offering Real Beer readers $10 off an order of any term.