Happiest Hour 

Sleigh'r by Ninkasi Brewing

What you're drinking: A seasonal "dark double alt" ale from the brewery in Eugene, Ore. Like most winter brews, it packs a punch at 7.2 percent alcohol by volume.

Why you're drinking it: If the promise of a strong malty taste doesn't pull you in, the hardcore label will. On it, Santa is flashing his rock horns while standing in his sleigh and being pulled by Dasher and co. The name and label font are a clever play off of the venerable thrash metal band known for such Christmas-inspired albums as, um, God Hates Us All.

If this beer were a Slayer album it would be: Probably the band's first recording on Def Jam Records, Reign in Blood, because both are heavy with complex flavors. Unlike the 1986 album, however, Sleigh'r has a bit more of a universal appeal.

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The deal with Nin-kasi: The brewery is relatively new to the Missoula market. Ninkasi started brewing in 2006, but only started distributing in our neck of the woods in March. The name, by the way, comes from the ancient Summarian goddess of fermentation.

Where you can find it: Sleigh'r comes in six-packs and 22-ounce bomber bottles at most local beer retailers.

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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