Beer geeks are easy to shop for. Pick-up a gift card from the local liquor store that has a great selection or from BevMo and you are set. That card will be used before 2011 even starts! But here are some ideas that dig a little deeper.
Beer Savers – Many of the special beers that are sold now are either 22-ounce bombers or caged and corked bottles that are too tall for most ‘fridges. And most beer is better to have standing tall and proud. So you either have to finish a beer you open or invite a friend or two to share it. Now, there is another option. Beer Savers look like bottle caps but you can affix them to the top of the bottle and keeps your beer fresh for a bit longer without making your bottle taller. They are made of silicone and are dishwasher safe. They come in a variety of colors too.
Man Tables – Speaking of hogging space in ‘fridges. I know that I buy without contemplating if there is enough space for both beer and food. One solution is to buy a dedicated beer cooler. Those tend to be rather utilitarian and not very feng shui though. And you can’t have them right next to where you sit and watch the bowl games or NBA. Enter the ‘fridge disguised as an end table! ManTables! They can hold over 45 cans and I would assume a few less if all bottles. And it is insulated to keep the sound “whisper” quiet. No one will know that your beverages are fingertips away.
Malt bags – Who says beer and trendy designs don’t mix. There are two ways to be the new craft beer style leader. First up are bags made out of the malt bags that brewers get. You will get knowing smiles from brewers carrying one of these around. And if you want to go a step further you can try to score a bag made from spent malt. They were shown recently at the Good Design Expo. You can be kind to the earth and be stylish. Oh and you have a great story to tell about how the bag came into being.
Dethroning the King – Give the gift of a little schaedenfreude for the holidays. This book by Julie McIntosh chronicles the merger of InBev with Anheuser-Busch to form the gigantic Brazilian-Belgian-American beer corporation. I am about halfway through the book and though the focus is on how AB fell prey to take-over after years of creating the biggest beer seller in the U.S., I am still surprised at how little the actual product is talked about. I would suggest finding a good beer and curling up with this either in paper or e-book form.
Beer Travel – Travel during the holidays is hard for the beer lover. You head home and find all sorts of great beers that you want to bring back. I have a beat up cardboard box that I have re-used from an online beer buying binge that is held together mostly by TSA tape but it does hold six big bottles and costs the $20 minimum for an extra piece of airline luggage. But if you want to go more professional, then head to WineCruzer to see some highly protected liquid stowing luggage. A cheaper alternative is to buy some WineSkins. Basically sealable bottle-shaped bubble wrap that should protect your beery valuables against even the most hardened baggage handler. They also have versions where a portion of the purchase price goes to two charities.
33 Beers – For the organized beer lover is this great little tasting book. Each page is a new beer with room for notes, a flavor wheel and other vital statistics. Made out of recyclable material and easy to carry in a back pocket, this is a great way to catalog the beers of 2011. Plus you can get three for a mere $10.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.