Happiest Hour 

All Souls Ale Christmas Edition

How it tastes: All Souls Ale is what Big Sky Brewing Company refers to as an "imperial saison." It's spicy and sweet, following in a saison tradition that first emerged in 19th century farmhouses in Belgium. But Big Sky's saison marks a boozy departure from the beer's traditionally low-alcohol content, coming in at a whopping 11 percent by volume.

Why we're drinking it: We like beer that carries a punch. But most of all, we appreciate how sales of All Souls benefit the community. All Souls Missoula, an alternative Christian church, and Big Sky Brewing teamed up to create and hand-bottle the brew. All proceeds generated from beer sales go to Imagine Missoula, a small nonprofit that organizes volunteers to assist others who need help with little chores like fixing leaks, raking leaves and mending fences. During the past two years, sales of All Souls have raised $14,000 for Imagine Missoula.

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How it looks: The All Souls Ale label makes a specialty brew more remarkable. It features a stained glass window with a red-robed shepherd raising his glass in salute. The label is artsy, festive and, largely because only 100 cases of the Christmas Edition will be issued, quite collectable. Each 750-milliliter bottle sells for $14.

Where to find it: Big Sky is rolling out All Souls on Dec. 7. As of Nov. 27, 26 of the 100 cases had already been sold, meaning it's probably a good idea to reserve yours now by calling Imagine Missoula's Nina Alviar at 546-4697. After Dec. 7, you can find All Souls Ale at Big Sky's tap room at 5417 Trumpeter Way.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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