Winter Beer Festival

The annual Winter Beer Festival presents 30 local breweries and their most comforting seasonal ales. (Lagers are invited, too.) It’s like a barn dance, but with far, far superior alcohol. Big Time Brewing will bring its Malaprop 8, a melting pot of sugar, malt, oats, and wheat that defies description. If you’ve previously only had the chance to sample brand-new Fremont Brewing Company’s flagship Universale, the brewery will also showcase its small-batch brews, including a hop-spiked dark chocolatey winter ale. Malt-rich, spicy, or barrel-aged, these “winter warmers” have at least two things in common: They pack a lot of flavor; and they add a little more alcohol. (Hence the warming part.) And if you need to put something solid in your stomach, local confectioner Chocolate Box will be offering sweets; or you can order from the regular Hale’s pub menu. (21 and over.) MAGGIE SAVARINO

Fri., Dec. 4, 5-10 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 5, 1-10 p.m., 2009

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