Beer Christmas Gifts, 200th Anniversary + Your First Beer

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Craft Beer Christmas

It is time for the yearly tradition of “suggesting” gifts for the #independent beer fan on your Christmas list.

I always recommend a beer oriented book for the holidays and I have talked numerous times about Beer is for Everyone by Pints and Panels blogger Em Sauter. Not only is this book done in a comic style that is rarely seen in beer writing; it is done from a fresh point of view from someone that seems to actually like beer. If this book doesn’t cure beer snobbery, then nothing can.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has a lot of barrels in Paso Robles. By a lot, I mean a whole hell of a lot, which makes the task of blending an anniversary beer a daunting one to imagine. But each year, winery friends compete to create the best blend of the year for the annual Anniversary beer. Anthony Yount from Denner Vineyards combined with Jordan Fiorentini & Kyle Gingras from Epoch Estate Wines to win for XXI. The bourbon barrel-aged Oatmeal Stout leads this year’s blend, with Velvet Merkin and Parabola the Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout being secondary.

A Ticket to the Extreme Beer Fest presented by Beer Advocate magazine may as well be a golden one. This is the first time that this festival will be gracing the West Coast and expect them to pour a plethora of great beers. The fest’s mission statement tells it all, describing an “ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity. Join us as we celebrate brewers who push the boundaries of brewing and raise a fist at the norm.”

I don’t understand the people that line up for rare beers or for those who line up to by sneakers, but when I saw the Prost trainers from Adidas, well, I could see why you would do the latter. These stylish and “beer proof” shoes would be a classy addition to any beer fan’s closet.

When I visited Bend, I happened into a store called The Workhouse by a charming bakery near Crux Fermentation Project. Inside was an actual workhouse for artists one of whom, Karen Eland created prints made from beer and coffee. There is something cool about seeing a cross-section of a hop drawn using beer instead of paint or pencil.

Now get out there and get to beer shopping!

There are two historically significant reasons why there is a new 200th Anniversary stout on shelves from Guinness. First, 1817 was the year that Benjamin Guinness first used a signature ingredient in Guinness: Black Patent Malt. Second, that year marked the first time that Guinness was shipped from Ireland to the United States. From Dublin to South Carolina. The re-imagined BEER OF THE WEEK is a slight tweak from the mainstay stout we know. I found it a little more chocolatey and the brewery finds toffee and caramel Either way, this beer is a nice addition to the family.

Your HOMEWORK is one more gift idea, but one that can be personalized a bit more. A common and often illuminating question is “What is the beer that got you into craft beer?” This Christmas, find that beer, if possible, or a close approximation, if not, and pair it with the most recent beer that you had and gift that to that beer friend in your life. This can be a great way to start talking about the Ghosts of Beers Past.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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