So, you have a beer lover on your gift list and you’re not exactly in the position to spring for a new kegorator or a high speed home brew system. A six pack or a 750ml bottle of something nice would do the trick but you’re more creative than that, right? Here’s a few beery ideas that will show everyone that you think outside the gift box (and the six pack too!).
The first article I did for Jersey Bites was an interview with Gretchen Schmidhausler who was, at the time, the brew master at Basil T’s in Red Bank. She’s since moved on to other endeavors. Her new gig is Gretchenbrew.com where she offers consulting, tastings, beer education and publications. The first publication is a 2013 New Jersey craft beer calendar entitled “Liberty, Prosperity and Craft Beer.” It features some artistically framed photos (some Gretchen took herself) of a smattering of NJ’s brew pubs and micro breweries. Gleaming tanks, sunlit hop plants and clever vignettes evoke memories of my jaunts around the state in search of good beer. I’ll bet it does the same for your Jersey beer lover. It’s available for $11.95 at her website and certain breweries and pubs around the state.
Back in the day used to take a beer with me when I hopped in the shower before a night on the town. Here’s another way to take your beer to the shower: Beer soap. Swag Brewery offers a number of beer related gift items, but none more interesting than soap made from beer. Why not? People have shampooed with beer. According to them it has excellent exfoliating properties but won’t leave you smelling like a frat house bar room floor. It comes in many different “flavors” from IPA, to Saison, to Oatmeal Stout. At less than $6 it’s a great way to put a smile on a beer geek’s face every morning!
Now that you’ve showered and scrubbed down with beer soap, it’s time to head down to the kitchen and pop some bread into the toaster. What do you put on your toast? BeerJelly of course! The Beercandy Company offers IPA and Stout jelly. I have to admit that I haven’t tried either of them yet, but the Stout is very appealing to me. With a hot cup of coffee it sounds down right perfect to me. Need to bring a dessert to your beer buddy’s holiday party? Beercandy has caramel, beer taffy and hop drops too. They even offer insight on how best to enjoy their caramel: “First, enjoy letting the chocolate melt. Then, the caramel will slowly take over your mouth with all the sweet creaminess of a very fine caramel and the subtle charms of a craft beer. Wait while the flavors change again and again toward the bold finish you expect from a great brew.” I’d say they take their candy seriously.
Finally, here’s a more practical idea: Glasses. Every beer lover needs them because they are essential to enjoying your favorite brew to the fullest. I have a large collection of logo shaker pint glasses myself. Most of the states breweries and brew pubs offer them for sale along with other logo products like growlers and swag. Beer lovers also like to pair the right beer with the correctly shaped glass. The work horses of my glass collection are the Sam Adams Boston Lager glasses. They enhance the experience of drinking almost any style of beer and I love them. Another option is the Beer Classics collection from Spiegelau. It’s a great starter set for any budding beer enthusiast.
Good luck with your holiday shopping and feel free to share any interesting beer related gadgets you dig up!
Peter Culos is the editor of “Beer Bites,” a new monthly feature about breweries, bars and good beer in the garden state. A graphic designer by day, and a life long New Jersey resident, Peter was first introduced to the novel idea that beer could actually have flavor during several visits to the UK. He’s been riding the craft beer bus ever since. It has been called the ultimate social lubricant and Peter’s philosophy on beer is, “I’d rather split my last good beer with a friend than drink the whole thing by myself.” Besides beer he also likes history, dogs, Jeeps and painting. In the past, he has written a History and Art blog for the Weider History Group and occasionally contributes to his own blog, history-geek.com. Life is short. Drink good beer.