For beer lovers the world over the holidays mean an opportunity to get their hands on new toys to fuel their obsession. Here are just a few. From homebrewers to beer geeks, there are more options than ever to bring a smile to brew-aficionado's faces on Christmas morning or one of Chanukah's eight crazy nights.
Because of this explosion of hops-laden love, sifting through the mountain of beer paraphernalia to find the perfect suds-related presents for loved ones can be a huge challenge. To address this conundrum, we combed the verdant golden fields of the brewing world for the latest and greatest products that'll bring joy to even the most jaded brewmaster's face upon unwrapping them. And best of all – most of these bundles of malted joy lend themselves to sharing – meaning more brew for everyone.
The holidays are often about reconnecting with those you've lost touch with over the course of the year, whether family or friends. And few things feel as good as bonding over a beer. For those who can't be there in person for a dose of sudsy solidarity, there's Beer2Buds, a web site that allows you to buy a beer for anyone on your list. Simply go to http://beer2buds.com/ and pick an amount to gift the beer lover in question, who can then redeem the present at their favorite local watering hole. It's easy, simple, and no one can complain when their stocking stuffer involves a free pint.
The beer geek's site of choice, BeerAdvocate.com is a resource for those enterprising hop-heads who want to learn everything about beer, from the alpha to the omega. That same comprehensive approach can be found in BeerAdvocate Magazine, where the features and reviews focus on all things beer-related, with incredible experts weighing in on beer styles, new brews, homebrewing, and anything else the beer-lover could imagine. And at only $15 for a year-long subscription, it won't break the bank.
Labeley Custom Beer Labels
All too often, homebrewers are forced to bottle their expertly crafted suds in nondescript unmarked bottles that don't match up with the precious nectar inside. Labeley.com allows these miracle workers to customize their own labels to place on their invaluable bottles of brew, making them uniquely their own and that much more fun to receive and drink. And with the ability to enter your own text and even upload photos, the options are effectively limitless.
The Oxford Companion to Beer
A nigh-exhaustive accounting of all aspects of beer, The Oxford Companion features 1,100 articles in an A-Z compendium of brew-soaked knowledge. 166 beer experts contributed to this guide, which covers everything from the history of beer to pub games. If there's a Cliff Clavin in your life, this is the book for him.
Spiegelau Beer Glasses
For most of us, a clean pint glass is all we really need to enjoy a good brew. But for the true connoisseur, each beer style requires its own specific vessel to highlight its flavors and aromas. Whether Pilsner, Witbier or Lager, Spiegelau has it covered with its Beer Classics line. And though these crystalline monuments to the joys of beer take up plenty of room in cabinets and bars, it's well worth it to see the smile creep across a beer-lover's face as he or she takes their first sip from one of these purpose-built glasses. After all, as Frank the Tank once said, “Once it hits your lips, it's so good.”
Packing beer into the fridge can seem a little like a game of high-stakes Tetris, with one false move sending your precious bottles careening across the fridge or crashing to the kitchen or garage floor. Luckily, the Fridge Monkey provides all the structure a beer fan needs to densely stack brews to his or her heart's content. Thanks to a Fridge Monkey so thoughtfully left in a stocking on Christmas morning, order is brought out of chaos, leaving naught but stacks of delicious beer where once disorder ruled with an iron fist.
Cold Cave Beer Froster
A fridge dedicated to frosty beer is a dream for many men, but few think to dream this big. The Cold Cave Beer Froster is purpose-built to keep beers chilled to just above their freezing temperature, ensuring as cold and refreshing a brew as any beer-lover could dare dream of. With space for 120 bottles and extra room for cans beside that, running out of deliciously frosted beer to pair with latkes or Christmas goose would be a thing of the long-forgotten past.
For the sweet-toothed beer-geek, Beercandy is a godsend. These hop-soaked sugar bombs are a surprising treat for anyone who ever dreamed in IBUs. From dark chocolate coated Stout Caramels to Hopdrops – hard candies with a tasty hoppy bite – Beercandy is tough to top. And for those with good teeth, Beertaffy is a chewy treat that combines a solid sugar high with some of the world's greatest beer styles.
Synergy Brewing Systems
Your average home brewer makes do with a system cobbled together over time, combining kits, household implements, and the occasional plastic Home Depot-sourced bucket. Bring tears to the craftsman's eye with a Synergy Brewing System. Sure, it may take up some precious space in the garage, but the fruits of their labors will taste that much sweeter as production goes into overdrive and your favorite brew-soaked mad scientist turns in tasty variations on their favorite beer styles. It's truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Beer Is Proof God Loves Us
Beer expert Charlie Bamforth's book brings us a social history of beer for this holiday season. Presenting a history of brewing along with the culture and movements it has spawned, Bamforth covers global territory as he tells story after story about the ways brewing has changed the world and the different parts of the world have changed brewing. He even touches on the spiritual side of brewing. And who better to bring beer's story to holiday celebrations everywhere than UC Davis' very first Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences?
BrooklynBrew Shop’s Beer Making Book
Making good beer can be tough. And few things are more disappointing than the moment a home brewer pours the fruits of his or her labors and finds a skunky mess. Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of the Brooklyn Brew Shop provide simple to follow recipes for 52 different beers, providing a basis for year-round sudsy happiness, or simply a jumping off point for any lucky boys and girls who find the book under the tree.
The Original Craft Beer Club
While home brewers obsess over their hops blends and grain ratios, most of us just want to find good bottles without making them ourselves. For the beer lover who believes variety truly is the spice of life, there's The Original Craft Beer Club. Delivering some of the world's finest craft beers every month, it's a holiday force multiplier – a present that keeps on bringing the joy well into 2012.