PICTURES: End of the World Beers

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“La Fin du Monde,” from Quebec’s Unibroue brewery.

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By Nathan Berrong, CNN

(CNN) — The end of the world is just a day away, and as the crazies prepare for it by stockpiling canned goods and jugs of water, I’m more concerned about which beer I’m going to drink to celebrate the future. You see, the world isn’t really going to end and the Mayans didn’t even predict it would. December 21, 2012, is just the final date on one of the Mayan calendars. According to scholars, the ancient Maya created several calendars and when one ended, another began.

For the Mayans, the end of a calendar cycle wasn’t about death and destruction but about rebirth and newness. December 21 should be about the celebration of what’s to come, not about the doom and gloom of a bygone world. Regardless of which view you lean towards, there’s a beer for you!

Beers for when the end of the world draws nigh:

Unibroue – La Fin du Monde

The name of this beer translates to “End Of The World,” and if you’re going to go out, you might as well go out with a bang and drink the best Tripel-style beer on earth.

Shock Top – End of The World Midnight Wheat

I’m not the biggest fan of wheat beers, and thus, have never sought out any Shock Top brews. This particular one changed my mind. The beer uses chocolate malts and is brewed with chilies, which makes for an extremely flavorful yet balanced beer.

The Lost Abbey – Judgment Day

This Quadrupel-style beer is a perfect choice for welcoming the end of days with its big flavors of dark fruit and caramel. It also contains a good amount of alcohol content and will surely take your mind off the impending doom.

Three Floyds – Apocalypse Cow

This unique double IPA contains lactose milk sugar which puts it into a beer category all its own. Weird factor aside, it’s truly an amazing beer. The crew over at Three Floyds have a reputation for being metalheads and let’s be honest, if the world is going to end, you might as well welcome it with a beer and some headbanging.

DC Brau – On the Wings of Armageddon

DC Brau brewed this beer specifically for December 21 as an homage to the Mayans and to welcome the transition from one world to the next. It’s a double IPA that hides its 9.2% ABV deceptively well and is considered one of the best IPAs in the world.

Elysian – Doom Golden Treacle Pale

Seattle’s Elysian Brewery has been planning for the end of the world longer than most and started releasing special themed beers last January to mark the end of the Mayan calendar. Known as the “12 Beers of the Apocalypse Series”, the brewery has released one each month leading up to the December climax and the final beer, the Doom Golden Treacle Pale Ale, will be released today.

Weyerbacher – Rapture

This exceptional sour ale ages for 18 months in pinot noir barrels and if you’re a sour beer lover like me, you won’t be disappointed in this one. The beer was originally brewed for another “end of the world” day – May 21, 2011 – the day a Christian radio broadcaster infamously predicted Jesus would return. He didn’t. And now we have a great beer to drink in honor of that failed prophecy.

Beers for a new and better world on the horizon:

Sierra Nevada – Celebration

This fresh hop ale from Sierra Nevada is truly something to celebrate. It’s brewed once a year right after the hop harvest season and is released to the public just before the holidays. If I were to welcome a new beginning, this would be my beer of choice.

Shmaltz Brewing Company – Jewbelation

Shmaltz brews a different Jewbelation beer each year that corresponds with the anniversary of their brewery. The brewery began in 1996 and this year brings Jewbelation Sweet 16. It contains 16 malts, 16 hop varieties and clocks in at 16% ABV. Jubilation, indeed!

Sam Adams – Utopias

I got the rare chance to try this beer at a private tasting with Sam Adams founder, Jim Koch, and this beer was shocking. In the best way possible. It’s the highest ABV beer I’ve ever had (29%) and although it tastes more like a cognac, it’s brewed with the same basic ingredients found in every beer. The beer costs upwards of $175 a bottle but think of it as a fine liquor that you bring out only for the most special of occasions – like the start of a new world.

Avery – New World

Avery is one of the more diverse breweries in America, brewing beers that run the gamut including everything from a pilsner to a barrel-aged stout. New World is Avery’s take on a porter and is dry-hopped, which gives it more hop flavor than most traditional beers of this style. I’ll drink to that.

Russian River – Redemption

This beer is Russian River Brewery’s version of a Belgian Blonde Ale. It’s light in color, big in flavor and at 4.8%, it’s low enough in alcohol to drink a couple of these while reveling in the fact that redemption is on the way and a new world is on the horizon.

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