12 Days of Beer Gifts
I grew up singing with my classmates and family a song about partridges in a pear tree, and a bunch of other weird gifts over a 12-day span leading up to Christmas. In those days, I was perplexed why the song didn’t include things like action figures and video games, while strongly endorsing go-to presents like eight maids a-milking. How much milk does one person need?
As an adult, I could still skip the milk maids, but I wouldn't mind some beer! So let's leave out the pipers piping and the ladies dancing. Let’s concentrate on the beer lovers drinking.
Here are 12 wet and wonderful beers and beer gift packs that should make that beer lover on your list light up like the proverbial Christmas tree or menorah.
- Beer of the Month Club: That’s right, once a month, the recipient will be blessed with a twelver of a select craft beer, oftentimes a hard-to-find a limited release, chosen by craft beer lovers at AmazingClubs.com. You can choose a full year or three-month, six-month or seasonal memberships. Packages start at $33.95 per month. When that person’s birthday rolls around, maybe you can look into a liver-supplement-of-the-month club.
- Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale: A time-honored classic, Winter Welcome is a winter warmer best consumed while snuggling in front of the fire. Made with Fuggle and Golding hops, it is actually a malt-forward beer made just for the winter season. Bear skin rug optional.
- Sweetwater Festive Ale: Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Company has been spreading its tentacles, and this is one of those that is making the rounds. A strong ale brewed for “winter coat season,” it is rife with black, chocolate, Munich and other malts with “a taint of cinnamon and mace to keep you warm and toasted all winter long.”
- Deschutes Brewery Jubelale: A garnet colored strong ale, this one also features special artwork each season – this year’s is original fiber artwork by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer, showing a winter landscape with a pair of sledders. The beer within reveals hints of chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. Put another log on the fire.
- IPAs of the U.S. Gift Basket: Here’s a different spin on a holiday gift idea, since not everyone likes the spicy, thick Christmas beers that are the stuff of tradition. If the person on your list just wants to hop it up, this is a selection of India pale ales from Coronado Brewing Company (New York International Beer Competition 2014 California Brewery of the Year), Peak Brewing (NYIBC 2014 Maine Brewery of the Year) , Breckenridge and Ballast Point, as well as the oh-so-delicious Jai Alai from Cigar City Brewing in Florida. This on also comes with a variety of snacks to pair with the beers.
- Schlafly Christmas Ale: This is another winter warmer featuring sweet caramel malt, with notes of orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom and cloves. Inspired by holiday classics like wassail, it’s a surefire way to ring in the holidays with nary a chill in the bones.
- Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: First brewed in 1981, this is a true American Christmas tradition, although it isn’t a winter warmer – this is actually credited with being an early version of an American IPA, made famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas. Celebration is indeed a bold and intense beer, featuring Centennial, Cascade and Chinook hops. If nutmeg isn’t your favorite beer lover’s thing, this might be the ideal gift.
- Great Lakes Christmas Ale: This beer is brewed with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon and is poised to pair nicely with that fruitcake your mustachioed aunt will inevitably bring to the family gathering. Roasted barleys make this one a warmer, and Mt. Hood and Cascade hops give it a spicy kick.
- Samuel Adams Winter Favorites Variety Pack: Sometimes you just can’t choose. Enter Samuel Adams and its 12-pack of winter goodness, featuring two each of the classic Sam Adam Lager, Winter Lager, Old Fezziwig Ale, White Christmas and (prepare to start salivating) Chocolate Bock. This is a great one to pack to your holiday work or family gathering for sharing or, hey, for hoarding at home with your sweetie. No judgment here, just prepare for a wide variety. (There’s also Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, sold separately, if you’re feeling more focused.)
- RogueSanta's Private Reserve: This is the one Santa probably drinks. A double-hopped red ale that is a variation of the well-regarded Saint Rogue Red, this one goes straight for a big roast finish and a hint of spruce for just a nod to the holiday season. Made from a wide and eclectic variety of malts and hops, plus proprietary Pacman yeast, it’s moderately bitter at 65 IBU and imminently quaffable at 6 percent ABV. It’s Christmas: the redder, the better!
- Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper: Talk about a winter warmer – this is an imperial porter to the max, with a flavor emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee, with sweet crystal malts and light hops. This is a big one at 10 percent ABV, but imagine how good Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are going to taste dunked in this Christmas winner? You can give it as a gift, but how could you let go of it? It’s OK to be a little selfish at Christmas.
- Three Floyds Alpha Klaus: A cousin to Three Floyds’ popular Alpha King, this beer pours jet black with a nose of chocolate, pine and citrus. The chocolaty flavor profile also gives way to a surprising hoppiness, setting it apart from many winter warmers. Many say it drinks more like a black IPA than a Christmas porter, but that makes it no less festive. And at 6 percent ABV, there’s no reason the beer lover on your list can’t enjoy more than one.