As always, the Beer Town Holiday Gifts for Beer Lovers guide begins with beer:
If you’re looking for something big, expensive and impressive, look no further than Sam Adams Utopias 2013. Less than 15,000 bottles were made of the latest vintage of this extreme blended beer, which is a whopping 28% alcohol by volume, and sells for $199. Unfortunately, you’ll need to look for it somewhere other than Georgia, because it’s too strong according to current state law.
Closer to home and lower in price, you might put together your own mix-pack sampler. For example, a “Gold 12-pack” with a six-pack each of Sweetwater Lowryeder rye IPA and Terrapin Tree Hugger German-style altbier, both gold medal winners at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver.
Beer lovers love reading about beer, and some great beer books were published in 2013:
“Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub of the South” by Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle (American Palate, $19.99), chronicles our city’s colorful past and current craft beer boom.
“The American Craft Beer Cookbook” by John Holl (Storey, $19.95) is a new collection of recipes that includes stories about brewers and breweries and all kinds of pairing suggestions.
“The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution” by Tom Acitelli (Chicago Review Press, $19.95) charts the epic growth of craft beer across the U.S. since the mid-1960s.
“The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes” by Joshua M. Bernstein (Sterling Epicure, $24.95) is as advertised, a beer school in a book.
“The Pocket Beer Guide: The Essential Handbook to the Very Best Beers in the World” by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb (Sterling Epicure, $14.95) packs lots of beer travel info into a tiny volume.
Beers lovers love drinking beer with other beer lovers, so gift certificates from a local beer bar or tickets to a beer festival are sure to please:
The 10th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, January 25 at 5 Seasons Brewing and Taco Mac Prado, beckons with some 40 rare, cask-conditioned real ales at one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded craft beer events. Tickets $43.99 plus tax and a $1.99 Xorbia processing fee for sale online only: classiccitybrew.com.
In its second year, the Secret Stash Bash, March 1 at 5 Seasons Brewing and Taco Mac Prado, is an exclusive beer fanatics playground with over forty of the best breweries in the U.S. pushing the boundaries to offer craft creations that are extremely difficult to find or have never been available here. Tickets $45: www.secretstashbash.com.
Beer lovers love beer glassware, gadgets and gear, and most craft breweries have shops or online links to purchase everything from T-shirts to koozies.
One gadget that recently hit the market won my seal of approval for working exactly as advertised. The inventor of the BottleKeeper ($20) claims it keeps beer colder, longer. With a neoprene sleeve inside a stainless steel container that looks like a water bottle, it screws apart to hold a standard 12-ounce bottle, making it safe, secure and secret: http://thebottlekeeper.com.
What beer gifts do you hope to give or receive this holiday season?
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog.