Christmas is coming up, and no doubt you’re struggling to find gifts at the last minute. No worries, everyone loves beer and the liquor store/wine shop is right around the corner. Here are some beers and beer-related gift ideas for that special someone in your life.
For the Beer Geek
For the guy who won’t stop talking about beer, spends 5 minutes sniffing their snifter of ale, and uses the word quaffable, here are a few options:
An Ageable Ale
Most beers should be served as fresh as possible. Beers that are sour, especially dark or sweet, or very high in alcohol, however, can age quite nicely. Gift two bottles of an ageable beer, one to drink together tonight, and one to drink together next Christmas. That way, you get to enjoy it fresh and after it’s mellowed out for a year.
As a rule, hops do not age well, so an IPA is probably not your best bet. However, Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA is a perfect beer to cellar for a few years. Technically, it’s probably closer to a barleywine than an IPA, and improves drastically with a year or two on it. Any beer geek would be stoked to get this under the tree, and you’re doing them a favor by sharing it with them – drinking all 12 ounces of this 18% beer alone is a risky move.
A Seasonal Ale
There are so many great Christmas beers. For the IPA lover, Sierra Celebration has huge hops, dark and chewy malts, a perfect winter IPA. It’s one of the reasons I love winter. For Belgian beer fans, Gouden Carolus Noël has always beer a favorite of mine. Beautifully malty with nice fruity Belgian yeast notes, it’s a beer you can sip and savor endlessly. There are also more highly spiced Christmas ales to choose frome. Schlafly’s Christmas Ale comes to mind as a classic, sought after, light and spicy six pack any beer geek would enjoy. In the same boat, Port City’s Tidings, and it’s made locally.
A Rare Beer
With a little more effort, you can blow a beer lover’s mind. Consider having a friend from California send you a few bottles of Pliny the Elder; a friend in Vermont could send you some Heady Topper. Hit up your Chicago/Indiana friends for some Zombie Dust. There are so many highly sought after beer geek “holy grails,” Hunahpu and Dark Lord among them, and with a little strategy they could be under the tree by December 24. And being based in DC gives you prime opportunity for trades. DC Brau’s On the Wings of Armageddon is a worth quite a bit in the beer trading world.
There are also websites that ship beers, but those can be a little sketchy, legally speaking. I’ve never had a bad experience, though. FYI, the first Christmas we dated, my now wife got me 4 bottles of Pliny the Elder from one of these websites. It was the background photo on my phone for years and I’m still talking about it.
For The Novice Beer Drinker
For those who are just becoming interested in the world of craft beer, a growler from a local brewery is a great option. 3 Stars, Right Proper, Atlas and others all sell growlers. Not only do they get to enjoy a great locally made beer, they get to keep the growler and think of you every time they fill it up! Bonus!
For the Bro
Is your boyfriend or roommate a bro? Lucky you! Does he only drink shitty light beer? Class him up with a six pack (or a 30 pack!) of Hardywood Cream Ale. It’s basically a craft beer version of an American Lager. It’s what Budweiser wished it tasted like. The beer geek’s beer pong elixir.
For the Wine Lover
Does your special someone love wine? Keep them on their toes and give them a sour ale this Christmas. Many sours are wonderful substitutes for wine. Gueze is a style from Belgium that’s a great choice, refreshingly tart, with the complexity of a fine wine. Cantillon brewery makes the some of the best in the world, but their versions can be very expensive and hard to find. If you can score one, great! If not, there are many other fantastic options to choose from. De Vinos in Adams Morgan always has a great selection.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of beer you give, if you put a little thought into it, beer is a wonderful gift. Who doesn’t love sharing a drink with someone special during the holidays?