We are less than a week away from Christmas and if you're anything like me you've still got some shopping left to do. We know that picking out the right beer isn't always easy so we're here to help. Our 2017 Beer Gift Guide highlights some of our favorite beers from the bottle shop and will help you find the perfect beer for that beer-lover in your life.
For the Belgian Beer Lover:
Au Baron/Jester King Noblesse Oblige: Brasserie Au Baron is a small family run brewery situated on the French side of the Franco-Belgian border. Drawing upon the strong tradition of Farmhouse ales of the region, Au Baron partnered with Jester King (of Austin, Texas, also known for their native Texas farmhouse ales) to create this beauty of a biere de garde. Lighter in color and body than your traditional biere de garde, and brewed with a touch of honey and American hops to set it apart. Dry, crisp and delicious.
Achel Trappist Extra: Crafted by Trappist monks at St. Benedictus Abbey at Achel, the smallest of Belgium's Trappist monasteries, and one of only two at which the monks still have a hand in the brewing operations. Copper in color, with a touch of malt sweetness, dried fruit flavors and warming sherry notes, a stellar beer at any time, but perfect for the cold winter nights.
Looking for more Belgian beers? We also suggest:
- De Dolle Stille Nacht
- Jopen Doubting Thomas
- De Struise Rio Reserva
For the Dark Beer Lover:
Jackie O's Dark Apparition: Hailing from the college town of Athens, Ohio, Jackie O's has gained a reputation for phenomenal barrel-aged beers. While this hefty Russian Imperial Stout sees no barrel time, it is not lacking in complexity. Brewed with more specialty malts than any sane person would use, this chewy, midnight black brew has notes of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and caramel, with a nice spicy/earthy hop character to round it out.
Gigantic MASSIVE! Bourbon Barrel-Aged: Gigantic is one of our favorite breweries out of Portland, Oregon. They boast some of the wildest label art this side of the Rockies, but don't discount the liquid within. This rich, intense English-style barleywine is boiled for eight hours straight to extract all the tasty malt flavor and sugar that British Golden Promise Malt can provide. It then rests in Bourbon barrels for nearly two years. Barleywine is life.
Looking for more dark beers? We also suggest:
- Pizza Port: Strong Ale Fest 2015
- The Lost Abbey: Santo Ron Diego
- Prairie Artisan Ales: Christmas Bomb!
For the Cider Lover:
Lassen Cider Farmhouse Dry Cider: We've been blown away by the ciders that cidermaker Ben Nielsen has been putting out of his Chico, CA cidery, and the Farmhouse Dry is far and away our favorite. Using American Heirloom apple varietals from the California Cascades and Sierra Foothills, Ben presses the apples at time of harvest, then ferments in neutral red wine barrels with no sulfites added. This allows the wild yeasts present on the apples to do their thing and create a dry, complex cider that will develop some "farmhouse funk" with tie and careful cellaring.
Sea Cider Farmhouse and Cidery Prohibition: Located on Vancouver Island in Canada, this small organic farm focuses on using local apples and traditional cider-making methods. A true dessert "sipper", this strong cider clocks in at 12.5%. Home-grown heritage apples are used, and then aged in rum-soaked Bourbon barrels. Aromas of brown sugar and rum come together perfectly in this semi-dry sparkling cider. We can't wait to pop one of these with Christmas cookies.
For the Sour Beer Lover:
Good Beer Co. George: This small brewery out of Santa Ana in Orange County focuses on mixed fermentation (using wild yeasts and different bacteria) beers. We've been getting deliveries from them about once every two months, and every keg and bottle we get is better than the last. "George" is tart and fruity mixed culture aged in oak barrels with California white peaches. Brewed as an homage to the owner's grandparents' Czech peach dumplings, this beer will not disappoint.
Mikkeller/Boon Oude Geuze: Spontaneously fermented and blended from beers ranging from one to three years old, this collaboration between OG Gypsy Brewers Mikkeller and legendary Lambic producer Boon is a unique twist on the Geuze style. Aged in big oak tanks that previously held Calvados (French apple brandy), this bone dry sour beer has a crisp carbonation that makes it a perfect champagne alternative.
Looking for more sour beers? We also suggest:
- Gigantic/Jolly Pumpkin: Phuket; It's Not That Far From Laos
- Jackie O's: White Knobs, Black Diamonds
- Woodfour/Jester King: A Night Of Funk
We hope this gift guide helps you out on your search for a great beer gift. If you still need help just come in and ask! We're always happy to show you around the bottle shop and help you find what you're looking for.