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The post-holiday lull doesn’t offer many guilt-free opportunities to get rip-roarin’ drunk, save St. Patrick’s Day (and for some of us—let’s face it—Valentine’s Day). But the dead of winter is prime season for high-flavor, high-alcohol brews like imperial stouts and barleywines. These beers are the single malts of beers, the grand crus, the Rolls Royces, the Monster Thickburgers. But you might not know what hit you if you try to simply gulp a barleywine down, which is why Smithsonian brings you Beer Behemoths, a tasting event led by Bob Tupper of Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils and Ale, and coordinated by Washington Post beer columnist Greg Kitsock and Jim Dorsch, editor of American Brewer magazine. Tupper will walk you through a host of big and sometimes rare offerings from breweries such as Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, Mikkeller, and Chimay; he’ll discuss the styles’ history, traditions, and role in society. It’s like class, except your homework is drinking.

TALK AND TASTING FROM 1 P.M. TO 4:30 P.M. AT THE BRICKSKELLER, 1523 22ND ST. NW. $82 ($65 FOR SMITHSONIAN MEMBERS). (202) 633-3030.