You’re buying gifts for people? In this economy?!
Well, that’s awfully nice of you. You’re clearly a stand up type with a penchant for selflessness. If Santa leaves coal in your stocking, it will probably be to help keep your energy costs down.
It’s a bit difficult finding gifts for beer fans that they haven’t seen already. For one thing, beer people are notoriously impulse buyers. A trip to the LCBO in November for a six pack might result in the purchase of a number of holiday gift packs. Besides which, most of the beer people have been paying attention for a while. They probably already have glassware they like and a certain number of books about beer on their shelves.
While I’m always going to tell you to purchase the St. Bernardus six pack and I impulse bought the Historic Ales from Scotland pack myself this year, I think for our purposes, we’ll focus on custom options.
1) Toronto Brewing Advent Calendar, $149.00, Available from Toronto Brewing
The advent calendar, popular in other jurisdictions, has almost never existed in Ontario because the LCBO doesn’t stock sizes larger than a twelve pack. The Toronto Brewing version is expertly curated. When I say that, I mean that I don’t think I could come up with a better sampling of beer from sought after breweries in this province. At this price point, it is actually a bargain in that the beer lover in your life can be guaranteed something interesting all through December for about six dollars a day.
This year there doesn’t seem to be any limitation on the number of them in stock, and it ships all across Ontario. You’ll want to order by November 25th to have it for December, but if you’re in the city, you could always swing by and pick it up at their Geary Avenue Location.
2) The Botany of Beer, $46.00, Available where fine books are sold.
Newly translated from Italian, Giuseppe Caruso’s The Botany of Beer is tied to the Italian slow food movement’s development and the Italian brewing culture. It’s a milieu in which there is an entire brewery dedicated to making Chestnut beers, so you know they’re interested in the esoteric. This book breaks down 500 botanical ingredients with significant attention to aromatic volatiles and is ideal for the homebrewer who’s looking for inspiration. Similarly, if you’re simply looking to improve your beer nerd palate cred, this is an invaluable resource you’ll dip into time and again.
3) Jelly King Holiday Gift Box, $80.00, Available from Bellwoods Hafis, Ossington, and Online
If there’s one thing I’ve learned teaching people about beer the last half decade, it’s that the people who like sour beers really like sour beers. They like them beyond the concept of seasonality, and with the dark evenings closing in you can’t blame them. Jelly King is bright, refreshing and vibrant. The variants are usually compelling, and the smoothie version is highly sought after. Plus, this package comes with attractive stemless glassware. The whole thing is too sweet to be sour.
Alright, let’s say you want to give someone something they can actually open on Christmas. Well, an advent calendar doesn’t do that. A gift card, however, is a great choice, and Bossa Nova has some truly interesting options. Not only can you get beers from across Ontario, but consider the import section, which contains a number of fascinating options from Italian brewers like Bruton, Baladin, and Flea. These are things even entrenched beer nerds probably haven’t tried, so you’re giving them the gift of novelty.
5) A Bouquet of Crisp, Delightful Lagers
Look, I like Imperial Stout as much as the next guy, but it’s not the sort of thing I find myself craving at the end of a long work day. Seasonality in beer is a fine thing, but it doesn’t limit you to beverages over 10% in December. Ask yourself what you’d want as a gift; something designed to be shared with people or something you can enjoy at your leisure. Whether it’s a six pack of Matron Yeasayer, Godspeed Sklepnik, Walkerville Purity Pilsner, Tooth and Nail Vim & Vigor, or Amsterdam 3 Speed, the beer will be gratefully consumed. Beer. You know. For drinking. Like back in the day.
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