Nov 29, 2012

Gift Ideas for the Beer geek in your life......

Well, its that time of year again folks. The air is getting colder (well, cooler here in Arizona) lines have former around Best Buy, people are fighting over $200 flat screens and the Cardinals are mathematically eliminated from the plays offs (no, its not September). Yup, its Christmas time again, and I wanted to help those of you out there that have a beer geek in your life, but have no idea what to get them for Christmas. Well, let me help you with that.

My first word of advice is this, you should probably stay away from buying them actual beer, with a few exceptions, which are this;

1. You've sought out the help of a beer professional (and not that frat boy working at BevMo). A brewer, or beer buyer, or even a licensed Cicerone for help. Chances are, if you are not accustomed to buying rare or craft beer, you aren't going to "stumble" upon some rare gem, or something they would love to have under their tree. When well meaning friends and family try and buy me beer as a gift, I normally end up with Guinness, or Blue Moon, or Shock Top. Not bad, and I always appreciate it, but its not beer to get too excited about, at least not for us geeks.
2. Beer gift sets are normally pretty good. WHEN they come from a brewery, and not those stupid "beers of the world" sets you get at Cost Plus, they generally pretty much suck for the most part. A lot of Belgian brewery's do holiday sets. Last year, I got a St Bernabus gift set that included a bottle each of thier 6, 8 and 12, with a nice glass. I also received a Chimay set, that included, all 3 of their beers, as well as the venerable Chimay Chalice (probably the second most popular beer glass after the Duval Tuplip). I also wrote recently about Westvletern releasing a gift pack on Dec 12 from Total Wine. This would be a GREAT gift pack for any beer geek!

Always a good option!
3. Gift Cards to BevMo, Total Wine, or a local bottle shop are ALWAYS appreciated. One thing beer geeks LOVE to do is go shopping for hidden gems or hard to find brews. Its even more fun with other peoples money!

The best beer magazine, I think
Magazine subscriptions are always a great idea. There are a handful of great beer publications. The most popular with most people is Beer Advocate. There are others like Draftmag, All About Beer, or Ale Street News (on Line Only) are all great magazines as well. Books are also a great idea, assuming you know which beer books they have or don't have. A must, would be "The Oxford Companion to Beer" by Garrett Oliver. He also wrote "The Brewmasters Table" which is THE book on beer and food pairings. Oliver literally wrote the book on pairing beer with food. "Tasting Beer" by Randy Mosher is a great beer book, especially for someone that might recently be getting into beer, but there is something for all levels to learn from it (well, most levels anyway). I also really liked "Ambitious Brew" by Maureen Ogle. Its about the history of beer here in the United States. Great for any history loving beer geek.

My dad made this!
Games. No, not "Apples to Apples" or Monopoly, fun, beer drinking games! No, and I don't mean Beer Pong! Back yard games you can play while enjoying beer. Games like Horse Shoes, Ladder Golf or Cornhole are all super fun and easy to enjoy with a beer! My dad actually made me a horse shoe game caddy to Christmas last year, complete with pint glass (or bottle) holders, and bottle opener mounted to the side!

Maybe the greatest idea ever!
The one thing pretty much all beer lovers LOVE to get, it beer gear. Be it clothes, bar accessories, signage glasses etc. Bottle openers use to be something you only had on your key chain, now, they are putting them on hats, on flip flops ( Reef makes the best ones!) I even saw one built into a bikini!! Drinking Made Easy has a funny "Beer Buckle" a belt buckle that folds down to make a little "shelf" for your beer. Another cool idea, go to any sort of antique store or second hand store, that sells old signs, and check out old beer signage and advertising. Something every beer geek loves to hang on their wall. You could always just find out what their favorite brewery is, and check out that brewery's website. Most brewery's have pretty extensive stores. Stone, Anchor, Deshutes, and Dogfish Head have among the best in my opinion.

Anyway, I hope this helps out a little. As always, don't be afraid to ask if you don't know. Ask your loved one what they like, or if they need anything, or want anything. Nothing wrong with that either.

Now, lets go find some Christmas beer to taste!!!

Until next time my friends
Bottoms up
The Beer Czar

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