One week and one day from now, Black Friday descends and the shopping begins. Each year, I point out some beer gifts that are an improvement on just a plain old gift card and will wow the beer fan on your Christmas list.
Starting with socks! Yes. Brewery t-shirts abound. As do hats. So get some warm footwear from Monkish Brewing in Torrance that will show that you are a next level snappy beer dresser.
The Last Bookstore hosts a panel of beer heavyweights on December 10 that you will not want to miss. Drink Beer – Think Beer author John Holl is the main guest and you will also get the opinions of Alex Kidd from the Don’t Drink Beer blog, Drew Beechum of the Experimental Homebrewing podcast, Frances Lopez from the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild, and beer writer John Verive from the the Los Angeles Times.
My go-to gift each holiday season is the Firestone Walker anniversary beer and year XXII is no exception because there is a new twist. This year includes the blonde barleywine, Helldorado from both rum and gin barrels. This year’s blend is dominated by the Central Coast Quad, Stickee Monkee, with equal (lesser) amounts of Parabola, the Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Bravo, the Imperial Brown Ale. That rum and gin should really add something special.
If you want to learn more about bitterness, 33 Books has a Hop Exploration Kit that will further your hop education. You get glassware for tasting, hops to use from Bert’s Beer Baster and journals to guide your tasting for an interactive learning experience.
Want to up your hot chocolate game? Get a marshmallow flavored with beer – generic beer I am guessing. These gourmet marshmallows were created at Wondermade and the full set has four flavors: Bourbon, Gin, Beer and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.
Beer travel guides were once all the rage, but like most travel books, things change. It is harder to update a book than a website, but Kirk Richardson is trying something much harder. Surveying the entire nation in Craft Beer Country. Part one is the Western United States. From Alaska down to Hawaii. That includes my neck of the beer woods, Los Angeles. I will be interested to see what Richardson says about my locals and which places he featured.
Lastly, the holiday season is also about helping. One way you can make the world a better place is to team up with Sierra Nevada and help out those affected by the Camp Fire in Northern California. The Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund, supported through the Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation, will be assisting people who have lost so much due to fire.
You won’t have to sign any paperwork for the Compare and Contrast beers this week. Los Angeles Ale Works and Arrow Lodge Brewing have teamed up for a duo can release with Terms and Conditions. The latter brewed by the Pomona side is a hazy Pale Ale brewed with Bird Pick Tea Pineapple Dreams blend, Citra, Galaxy, and El Dorado hops. The former is the L.A. Ale Works beer which is also a hazy pale with the Bird Pick Tea but also puffed jasmine rice.
You may have seen another beer from L.A. Ale Works on shelves. The pink can has the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall and was brewed for the LA Phil 100 celebration. November 16 marks the first in a series of Casual Fridays in the concert season. Trumpet player Christopher Still and principal trombone player David Rejana co-brewed that Brut IPA with oranges, which will be poured alongside another L.A. County Brewers Guild member brewery.
This is your chance to hear music, then hear from the musicians and taste local beer and then you can toast the LA Phil’s first 100 years in Los Angeles. Oh, and wouldn’t this make an excellent gift for the holiday season too?
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.