A Gift Guide for Your Favorite Hop Head
By Hudson Lindenberger
With the holidays upon us what better gift to bestow upon friends and family than beer and all mirthful merrymaking that accompanies it; I have put together a gift list that would make Homer Simpson jealous.
This bi-annual release from craft beer pioneer Jim Koch and crew at Samuel Adams is one of the most sought after beers in America due to it’s limited release and unique flavor profile. The beer is a combination of strong ales aged in various whiskey, brandy, rum and wine casks – the rotation is a closely held secret and each batch varies greatly. The beer resembles fine liquor more than your average beer and packs a wallop at 56 proof. Cost per bottle is $199 and can be found in high-end liquor stores.
Anchor Steam Christmas Beer:
San Francisco based Anchor Brewing has released its 39th edition of every elf’s favorite gift to find under the tree. The recipe changes each year, but brewmaster Mark Carpenter has high hopes for this year’s batch: “We think beer lovers will be pleased when they taste the complex, spiced flavors of our 2013 Christmas Ale.” Cost per six-pack ranges from $9.99 to $11.99 and can be found in most liquor stores.
Shmaltz Brewing Company Holiday Gift Pack:
The folks at Shmaltz brewing are known for their irreverent sense of humor and this mixed pack of award-winning brews from their HE’BREWS lineup has some beauties in it. The Death of a Contract Brewer Black IPA is sublimely smooth and Jewbelation Reborn is stuffed with 17 malts, 17 hops and 17 percent alcohol. It may be past Hanukkah but the package also contains a do-it-yourself beer Menorah kit – told you they like to have fun. Cost per eight-pack is $29.99 and can be found in most high-end liquor stores.
Every year the brewers at Firestone Walker create a new and unique beer to celebrate their anniversary; this year they invited 17 local winemakers to help them create a huge barrel-aged beast. The liquid is a blend of seven different beers pulled from 220 oak barrels with a rich chocolate and spice profile, a true gem. Cost $29.99 and can be found in most high-end liquor stores.
Beer of the Month Club:
What better way to show someone you value their happiness all year than with a beer of the month club? Each month when they receive golden goodness delivered to their doorstep, that holiday feeling is reignited. Amazing Beer Club will deliver four different styles of beer each month from a variety of award-winning breweries. They offer three-, six- and 12-month beer clubs and prices are $104.85, $203.70 and $395.40 respectively.
Subscription to a Beer Magazine:
Everyone likes to drink beer but how about increasing their knowledge about that bottle of suds? Numerous publications are dedicated to the burgeoning craft beer scene. Two of the best are Draft and All About Beer. DRAFT Magazine
, the more polished periodical, focuses on beer but also restaurants, food parings, trips and such. All About Beer
is just what the title says: a magazine devoted to wine’s poverty stricken brother.
Pop Chart Labs offers several fascinating flow chart posters to provide a road map to the different styles of beer in an informative manner, a must have for any beer aficionado.
What better gift to round out the brewer wannabe in your life than a book or two about the history of beer, how it is made and different styles. Here is a list of a few that illuminate the art of zymurgy.
Since beer is more than 25 percent water, what better way to understand it than with “Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements)
” by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski.
For any budding beer geek on your list, look no further than “The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes
” by Joshua Bernstein.
For the foodie on your list get them “Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Philosophy of Food & Drink
” by Fred Bueltmann.
Lastly, you can never go wrong with the 3,000 reviews in “The Pocket Beer Guide
” by Steven Beaumont and Tim Webb.
What happy hophead has never dreamed about brewing barley pops? Make their dream a reality with a starter homebrew kit from Homebrew Academy
and Midwest Supplies. Founder Billy “Beer” Broas has more than eight years experience home brewing and has created an online brewing school to teach your budding brewmaster the ins and outs of crafting fine beers. The kit from Midwest was designed by Billy and includes everything to get them started on the path to Great American Beer Festival glory. The cost is $134.99
To truly savor your beer correctly you need the proper vessel for delivery. As beer becomes more complex, breweries are educating patrons on the appropriate glass to deliver the full spectrum of complexities each style offers. Riedel offers the perfect starter kit of four glasses
that present beer the way brewers intended you to receive it. The kit contains a classic lager glass, a wheat beer glass, a stemmed tulip and the recently created IPA glass that was born from collaboration between two craft beer legends. Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head worked together for more than a year to design the ultimate IPA glass. The recipient of your gift will thank you for years as they enjoy their libations. The cost is $49.90.
BBQ of the Month Club:
Beer and BBQ are a delectable duo; treat someone to the ultimate holiday gift. Pig of the Month offers six-, nine- and 12-month packages of piquant pork goodness. Prices are $349, $499.95 and $705.69 respectively; hopefully the recipient will invite you over for a feast.
What better way to class up a beer cave than with a couple of traditional beer signs? Vintage Beer Collectibles is a website dedicated to rescuing timeless beer collectibles and finding them good homes. Prices vary per item and the site is updated frequently.
Some Cool Wearable’s:
Treat someone to a unique beer themed shirt that they can proudly sport around town from Craft Brewed Clothing. They have a large selection of clothing to choose from and feature a different brewery each month with a selection for both women and men.
Beer Themed Trip:
For the beeroisseur on your list why not a tipsy trek to the motherland? Beer Trips. Com has been shepherding souls in search of suds to numerous locations spanning the globe since 1998. Germany, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, and Ireland are some of the locations for which they offer trips.
Looking for a unique stocking stuffer? The Beer Buckle offers numerous selections of beer buckles that fold down to hold your beer. This gift is sure to elicit chuckles and conversation. Prices range from $34.99-$49.99
The Patron Saint of Beer:
No character on television has professed love of beer more than Homer Simpson, so why not bestow upon your favorite hophead a poster of the man. All Posters has several to offer ranging from $1 to $9.99.
For more information on the gift ideas listed above visit:
(All photos courtesy of corresponding website and distributor)
Sam Adams Utopias
Anchor Steam Christmas Ale
Shmaltz Brewing Holiday Pack
Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale
Amazing Beer Club
All About Beer Magazine
Beer Style Poster
Homer Simpson Poster