Most beer geeks are asking for beer advent calendars (yes, plural) for their annual gift this year, I suspect, but sometimes your favourite brew lover wants something that’s not consumable. It still has to be useful, though. No one wants more clutter in their beer shed. Just how many bottles, cans, beer towels, mugs, tap handles, cap holders and posters can we keep? As it turns out, plenty.
Here are 7 interesting goodies for beer enthusiasts:
Craig Pinhey’s Picks
Most beer lovers tend to enjoy spirits too, and cocktails, so this all in one bar tool – essentially a Swiss Army knife for drinkers – is a great gift for your beer and booze loving friend. It has a citrus press for squeezing, a shot glass, corkscrew, zester, can lance, 3 different knives, and, yes, it does have a beer opener.
If you are a hop head, or you like oddball beers that have all kinds of infused flavours, this is the device for you. Many of us older beer lovers remember Dogfish Head’s Randall The Enamel Animal, the device which allowed pubs to infuse their draught beers with hops or other flavours on the way to the drinker’s glass. Randall Jr. is for home users. It’s a mini version of the Enamel Animal. You add in fresh hops or spices or fruit or whatever you like, then pour in a bottle of beer, and then leave it for a while to infuse. Then, pour into your glass and let the filter keep all the chunky stuff out of your drink.
If you are a home brewer or a beer lover and are interested in trying some of your own experiments with wood aged beers, then this is the perfect gift: a used American oak barrel from Woodinville Whiskey. You can buy your own small (8 gallon) used barrels that have had one aging cycle of whiskey.
The 8 gallon barrels have a greater surface area to volume ratio (more wood in contact with liquid) than the larger ones used by most breweries, so you can get that wood flavour quickly. They are fairly reasonably priced at $150-175 US and can be reused.
Most beer drinkers I know are responsible and don’t want to break the law or endanger others or themselves. There are now good quality personal breathalyzers on the market that allow you to test yourself to ensure that you are safe to drive. One of the best reviewed ones is the BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer, which works with iPhone and Android.
It is $129.99 at amazon.ca Yes, it is fun for parties, but mainly it’s for saving lives.
As an avid fan of beer for over 30 years, I am always on the hunt for great beer t-shirts, toques and hoodies, and I think this is pretty common amongst beer fans. You can find great ones at many of our breweries across the country, but sometimes you may want a fun one that isn’t branded. There are lots of online options but one of the better ones is found at www.craftbeerhound.com/collections/apparel. They have lots of options for girls and guys, with such themes as “Hop Head”, “Drink Like A Monk”, “Hop Lady” and “Drink Like A Czar.”
Rob Symes’ Picks
- Beer Soap
The floral scents of many soaps can be a bit off-putting if you’re not into that kind of thing, and I’ve always like some of the background notes you find in beer – particular the sparks of citrus and pine from a good IPA. Fortunately, beer soap is a thing, and you can get just those aromas without any hint of booze.
7. An Experience
It’s a cliché, but the best things in life aren’t always ‘things’. I like the idea of a memory that will be cherished, and you can tie that up as a trip to a beer destination, or even a day at a local release party with dinner thrown in. How you package it is up to your own creativity, but you can double dose on the joy – once at unwrapping, and again at redemption.