I missed this gem last year. I vaguely remember seeing it on the shelves, but not for all that long.
As it turns out, and your mileage may vary on this one depending on your location, you would be lucky to see it in stock for a few days let alone a week.
I would not call it hyped, as unless you ask people about it specifically, you do not hear it mentioned. I assume this is because everyone is in on it, and trying to procure their own. In truth though, I seems to go along with the other beers in the lineup, hidden in plain sight. In cases like this, flying under the radar is not really all that bad of a thing, it means you have a chance of getting it.
This year, my local place got three cases in total. Two cases were bought by someone basically before they could load them off of the truck. By the time I came in that afternoon, there were only three six-packs left. So, even though I was not planning on buying it right then, I grabbed one. Which is just as well, as I was later told, they didn’t last the afternoon.
I’ve heard it called many things, but Christmas Crack is by far the most memorable, and given the frantic buying of it in most places outside of Cleveland (where stock is obviously higher), rather fitting.
Holding it for a week or two, I finally cracked one open on Thanksgiving Eve, sitting in the living room watching the snow / sleet / snow come down. Seemed like as fitting of a time as any to get into the season.
Great Lakes describes it as having: “a cinnamon and ginger spice flavor, a rich copper color, and a medium body that will fit with any holiday meal.”
I did not find the spices overbearing at all, certainly not heavy-handed. It is a touch sweet, just enough though, and that played nicely off of the spices. I had it at cellar temps, but a little warmer only helps it. I would say take your time sipping it, but that will be a challenge.
It is too early to say for sure but this is one of the best holiday beers I have had so far: super drinkable, as good with food as it is sipping by the fireplace / TV / whatever.