'Tis the season for holiday gatherings and gift-giving.
There'll be plenty of family and office parties, filled with food and good cheer.
And that one person complaining about the drink selection.
Trust me, I know. I'm that guy in my family.
But the complaints can be fleeting. The craft-beer explosion over the past 15 years or so has made microbrewed beverages easy to get and has made it easy to quiet the beer snob in any crowd.
Here are some of the best, (mostly) easily attainable winter holiday beers that won't cost an arm and a leg.
Southern Tier 2XMas is a tasty spiced ale available in six-packs, and delivers orange peel, cinnamon and clove notes. One of the better for a fairly common style this time of year.
Weyerbacher Brewing Merry Monks is a Belgian-style Tripel ale. At 9.3 percent ABV, it packs a punch and has subtle pear and banana flavors. And if you can't finish a full six-pack, it's a bottle-conditioned brew, which means the flavor will evolve with some aging.
Not sure what style to get? The Sierra Nevada Snowpack offers a little bit of everything. There's three each of the Maple Scotch (a Scotch ale), the Coffee Stout (made with cold-brewed coffee), the Single Hop (an IPA heavy on Cascade hops), and the brewery's flagship Pale Ale.
The Berkshire Brewing Company's 2016 Holidale is a great option for when you just need one bottle for a quick visit. The barleywine-style brew comes in 22-ounce bottles and, in years past, has had a bit of a coffee or chocolate flavor and a smooth finish.
Troegs Mad Elf is a solid option for those who claim not to like beer. There are rich cherry notes, along with honey, clove and cinnamon. The Mad Elf comes in limited six-packs and can be a bit hard to find, but is definitely worth a try.
Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale is a fun one to try every year as the brewery uses a different recipe (and tree on its label), and has been putting out a new one since 1975. It's a surprise every holiday season, but one that's usually balanced between hops and malts, and available in six-packs and a gigantic, 1.5-liter bottle.
For a more local option, Harpoon Winter Warmer is annually popular. The Boston brewery's creation is served just about everywhere and pairs a nice malty finish with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Another ale with winter spices is 21st Amendment Brewery's Fireside Chat. It's an English-style strong ale with a bit of cocoa and is available in six-packs of cans through December.
Rogue Santa's Private Reserve is a red ale with plenty of hops with a fairly balanced finish. If that's not enough to raise your interest, Santa Claus himself seems to be enjoying some on the bottle, and who can argue with that guy?
Still unsure what to pick up? Ask someone. Most liquor stores have at least one employee with vast knowledge of craft beer. Craft Beer Cellar -- with a location in Westford -- requires its employees to be Cicerone Certified, meaning they've gone through a program that educates professionals on brews, their flavors and what every beer term means before working in the industry.
And some places allow -- and encourage -- consumers to put together their own mixed packs of beers, giving you the chance to try one or two of something before committing to a full six-pack.