Christmas and the Holiday season are a great time to surprise people with gifts. There is nothing better than seeing that look in their eyes as the wrapping paper comes off and the wow! starts.
To do that for the beer geek in your life, how about checking out websites like BeerJobber or Let’s Pour and find a craft beer from a brewery that doesn’t get distribution down here in Los Angeles. You can get Pelican or Gigantic beers from Let’s Pour, and if you buy enough, you get free shipping. BeerJobber has beers from far flung locales as New Mexico and New York. Even one bottle from a hard to get brewery is an amazing gift.
Another thoughtful idea is to buy special cleaning and rinsing gear for the craft beer geek’s glasses. Normal detergents and dish soap can leave an undesirable film on the pint glass or chalice that can reduce the amount of foam and make the viewing pleasure of a great stout less than optimal. Look for a restaurant supply store or ask the people behind the bar at your favorite watering hole what they use.
And if there are growlers laying about the house, take one to the brewery and have it filled with a winter warmer or a favorite beer (that could be one in the same) and have it ready with a bow on it in the ‘fridge for Christmas dinner. If the person you are buying for is too busy racing around looking for gifts for others, they may forget to put the growler in the car before the brewery closes for the holiday.
One last Christmas tip: if you know someone who has a surfeit of logo’d glassware and nowhere to put it, how about creating some art with those unused memories? Get one of those frames that look more like boxes and stack those little tasting glasses in it and hang it on the wall. If you find a big enough frame, you could do pint glasses as well but that might require some heavy duty adhesion to the wall because of the weight. A frame filled with glasses from Brew at the Zoo or the Great American Beer Festival would even pass muster on HGTV.
Beer of the Week is Anchor Christmas Ale, which dates to 1975. I look forward to this beer every holiday. Each year a new tree graces the simple label and each year the recipe gets tweaked a little. This is the first winter warmer I buy in the holiday season.
Your Homework is to buy a second six-pack of the Anchor beer and cellar it. Then next year, buy two again. But in 2013, open up a bottle of the 2012 version and taste it against the new one. It is a simple and fun way to see how aging affects beer and to see how different or un-different each batch really is.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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