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Where's Santa? 

Brewery observes Christmas five months ahead of schedule.

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The Great Lakes Brewing Company celebrates Christmas in July by tapping several kegs of its popular Christmas Ale tonight. A decorated tree, strings of lights, and other seasonal ornaments welcome visitors to the party, which includes hors d’oeuvres, sugar cookies, and a raffle to win mugs and T-shirts. But the pint-size glasses of ale -- which is typically sold between mid-October through the holidays -- will undoubtedly hog most of the attention.

The brew’s spicy mix of ginger, cinnamon, and honey always puts patrons like Don Semus in a yuletide mood. “This is definitely a winter warmer,” he says. “I can see myself drinking it by the fire on a cold December night. The spices immediately bring the holidays to mind.” Or at least that’s what he can remember. Because unlike the brewery’s top-selling Burning River Pale Ale (which boasts a six-percent alcohol content), the holiday offering checks in with a mind-numbing 7.5 percent. “The honey is what really boosts its alcohol content, because of the sugar,” says Great Lakes spokeswoman Kami Dolney. “It’s really a spicy, holiday-festive kind of ale.”
Tue., July 24, 7-9 p.m.

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