Yet, I still want more beer stuff (and a robot vacuum, you should see my floors). Check out my Christmas list below, who knows, maybe you’ll find something on there for the beer geek in your life. My top pro-tip for buying gifts for the beer lover in your life is, when in doubt, give beer — not beer paraphernalia. Not everyone digs beer soap as much as I do.
Fancy IPA glass
All the big beers have them — and a few years ago the mighty IPA finally has a glass to call its own. This year, it’s my turn to own some. A collaboration between two of America’s most esteemed hop heads (Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada) and a fancy glassware company, its design maximizes the aromas and flavours while keeping carbonation. I’ve already made space for these puppies in my cupboard — if you love me you’ll pick up at least six.
Bonus: VERY dishwasher safe apparently…
Tasting beer and food like a boss isn’t easy, I like to keep up with the research and give my senses a daily workout. Good thing that Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros hit the Amazon this month. Penned by beer-and-food pairing guru Julia Herz, and beer expert Gwen Conley, this guide will teach even the most knowledgeable a thing or two about finding harmony between the plate and the glass. And because I need even more excuses to eat and drink, I’m also hoping Santa will bring me Stephen Beaumont’s new The Beer & Food Companion. The man travels the world in search of the best brews (and he’s gotta’ eat too) so I expect this book to be nothing less than epic.
Stocking the cellar
The holiday season sees the release of some special edition brews worthy of cellaring. Belgian strong ales, barley wines, a certain Flanders Red, among others are finding their way onto the LCBO shelves. Each year I buy armfuls of Grande Reserve 17, Fuller’s Vintage Ale, Rodenbach Vintage Ale and St Ambroise St Ambroise Vintage Ale and St Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout. Hot tip — buy three minimum so you can do parallel tastings of different vintages in the years to come. Check out my story on How to Cellar beer here.
BONUS: What I’ll be gifting
The effortlessly festive New Lang Syne from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is my new go-to for spreading holiday cheer. This stunning bottle tastes as good as it looks—and that’s no mean feat considering its killer design. Pours a hazy gold with a white frothy head and plenty of bubbles. A portion of this tripel was aged in Pinot Grigio barrels for four months then blended back in for a complex beauty of an ale starting off with peach, papaya and lemon notes, a crack of white pepper and champagne-style carbonation. It’s perfect for poppin’ on New Year’s Eve — and it’ll be my go-to hostess gift all holiday season.