I love Samuel Adams beer! Their Boston Lager is often the only decent beer you can get when you go out to eat, and their small batch "experimental" brews always intrigue me. One good example of the latter is Merry Mischief, a gingerbread stout now available in bomber size bottles. That's right, I said gingerbread stout! How sweet is that! For sure, this is far from another run-of-the-mill Christmas ale. It's quite a daring concoction, combining the dark malts of a stout with traditional holiday spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger. I'm not sure it's a complete success, but I do appreciate the attempt to think outside the Christmas beer box. For a stout, it's a little thin. And the roasty quality you'd expect from a dark beer is pretty much obliterated by all that spice. Still, as a malt-head I have to be holding my thumbs up for the way this beer basks in its own sweetness. I've seen a lot of reviews comparing it to a pumpkin ale, and I totally get that. This doesn't really taste like a stout, nor does it taste like a Christmas ale. But if you're going to get experimental with a beer, rule #1 is that it should at least taste good. And I must confess, I had no trouble finishing my bomber of Merry Mischief. I liked all that sweet, intense spice, and mixed with those dark malts, this beer went a little overboard in an entirely pleasurable way. It reminds me of those times I went crazy and ate too many Christmas cookies (Ah, memories...of two weeks ago). As is the case with all of those Sam Adams small batch offerings, the alcohol content is, uh, "hearty". I'm not saying you should buy four or five of these, but this is one of those beers that everyone's got to try once. Have a friend or two over, crank up the Christmas music, and indulge. Surely some mischief is in order this holiday season!