‘Tis the season and Los Angeles beer geeks certainly have plenty of reasons to be merry. Beer bars are plentiful, Eagle Rock Brewery is actually making beer and will soon be open and the holiday beers are hitting shelves for all of us to enjoy by the hearth.
Because it is the spirit of giving, I have compiled a list (including web addresses) of what to buy the craft beer lover on your list (or me).
1. Let’s start with beer bars. Gift cards are all the rage. They are easy and don’t require wrapping. You can run over to the grocery store and buy a handful and on Christmas morning you will be very popular. But what about the old fashioned IOU? You could give the gift of driving your ale fanatic to their favorite spot (maybe Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena) and buying them a couple pints or goblets of their choosing. Or, you can offer to be their designated driver on a night of beer bar hopping. Take them from The Daily Pint to Blue Palms Brewhouse and finish at Verdugo Bar.
2. Eagle Rock Brewery is this close to opening their tasting room. (I can assure you that their Black Mild is delicious). How about getting them the Local Beer gift pack? A pint glass with the “beer for the people” logo and a gift card for future visits. Or if you really want to impress add in one of their hats or T-shirts. Not only will the recipient thank you, you will be supporting a new and local company.
3. Create a Christmas beer package. This is fun. Just head out to BevMo, Whole Foods or your local beer shop of choice and pick out interesting holiday seasonals. You can even make a theme out of it. Select all Belgian beers or select a few bottles of California ales like Anchor’s Special Ale, Telegraph’s Winter Ale or Yulesmith. You could also create your own beer of the month club. Does your beer buddy love the big DIPA’s? How about getting him one bomber of DIPA from a different brewery each month for six months. Not only is it literally the gift that keeps giving but it will also make your January credit card bill less scary.
4. Get beers seldom seen on the West Coast. Everyone has the hard to shop for person on his or her list. And trying to impress a beer geek with a beer they have never had before can be a daunting task. One way to do it is to check out places like Liquid Solutions in Oregon or Archer Liquors in Illinois. Both have great selections of craft beer that we probably won’t even see down here. If you want some winter warmers from Full Sail, Ninkasi or Lazy Boy or just a bottle of Ill Tempered Gnome from Oakshire Brewing then Liquid Solutions is your choice. If you want more Midwestern and East Coast beers then try out Archer Liquors to get 3 Floyds and Bell’s in your friends ‘fridge for Christmas.
5. Lastly, how about just inviting your beer friends over for a tasting party. You can supply the beer yourself or you can have each person bring a favorite from their year in beer or a holiday ale or both. Then just sit around and be grateful for friends who enjoy the good things in life and that we live in a city that gives us this bounty of beery goodness.
Your homework is to try a Belgian Christmas Ale. May I suggest, Delirium Noel, with the pink elephant in the Santa hat?
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.