The Starbucks holiday cups are out so you know what time of year it is even if the weather is still plenty warm outside. It is time to plan gifts for that beer lover on your Christmas list.
Books are a constant presence at Christmas and the best bet this year is A Brief History of Lager by Mark Dredge. This is no dry historical tome and it doesn’t take sarcastic pot-shots at the dominant lager style seen on commercials. Rather it is an open-eyed and appreciative look at a style that practically everyone on the planet has tried at least once.
Trader Joe’s is a household word, especially around the holidays, but the sibling store Aldi due to having many fewer stores is less known, but their in-demand Beer Advent Calendar might change that. Filled with (24) bottles of German beer from breweries that most beer geeks will have to search engine to learn about, it makes a perfect gift in the run-up to the holidays.
LA Beer Hop has been ferrying beer fans all around the Los Angeles area and this year they have expanded their reach into stops for cider and wine. They also have a Burbank/Glendale tour to hit Valley hot spots in addition to South Bay and DTLA itineraries. If you subscribe to the idea that experiences are better than things, this is up your alley (or freeway).
The Alamo Drafthouse finally opened in Downtown LA this year and that means that you can enjoy a beer and a movie at the same time. Or you can head to their entry level bar and have a Stout before Skywalker or a Golden Ale before that possible Oscar winner. Pick up a gift card for the stocking and enjoy the show.
If the hard seltzer craze has taught us anything, it is that not every occasion is a beer drinking one. I beg to differ but even I like a sparkly drink. HopTea has me covered. You can pick from black, white or green teas that are paired and brewed with hops. Like White tea and grapefruit that has Simcoe and Lemondrop hops.
Firestone Walker has come out with some fun bold t-shirts that will add to your beer wardrobe in new ways. You can get an Extra Hoppy Shirt or a Meet Me at the Brewery. Or go with a beer translation shirt to show off your language skills.
If you need a new lunch box for 2020 then MacLeod Ales is ready for you. They have a “lunch box bundle.” $49 gets you the lunch box, a t-shirt and beer crowler. You can also opt for just the box for $20. This gift will make you the coolest kid in school, or cubicle.
The Non-IPA Beer of the Week is a style that I think should have a much bigger footprint in the world, the red ale. Common Space has a 16-ounce Doubled version by the name of B.F.R. where the malts so the heavy flavor lifting and the hops punch in at the end to seal the deal. In this case the malts are Rahr Pale, Vienna, Carared, T50 and Carafa.
There is a cluster of brewery anniversaries that have landed this weekend. Highpoint Brewing in San Dimas is the baby of the group, celebrating year one. Alosta Brewing out in Covina will be blowing out six candles with a purple glyph / artist formerly known as party. Moving across the Valley to Burbank, Lincoln Beer Co. will be 2 years old and Brewery Draconum joins them in that class out in Newhall. Or you could head to Inglewood where Three Weavers will have a two-day party going too! Wherever your GPS leads, you will find an anniversary.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.