25 November, 2020, 12:00

The Perfect Holiday Beer Gift For Everyone On Your List

Black Friday is over. Cyber Monday has passed;

Yet gift buying isn’t finished, and you’re totally gassed.

Fickle friends, family, and those office people too;

Now you’re out of options and ideas — what do you do?

You need a bunch of gifts that bring people cheer;

Well, head to the store and buy them some beer!

Whether they’re new to the game or right at the top;

Give them that malty, hoppy goodness that just won’t stop.

Build your own six-pack or choose a growler or two;

Dig through those coolers and find something new!

Not sure what to buy? Well, put thy mind to rest;

For holiday beer purchases, here’s what we suggest.

For Novice Beer Drinkers

Winter Solstice, Anderson Valley
(Credit: Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

(Credit: Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

If you are looking to introduce somebody to the craft beer scene, but don’t want to scare them off with too much malt and hops, this is the perfect beer. A consummate seasonal, Winter Solstice is an easy-drinking beer with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and a slight toffee and caramel back. There are some seasonal spices, but nothing too overwhelming. This is a great way to usher in the season and possibly a new appreciation for craft beer.

Style: Winter Warmer; ABV: 6.9%

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For Out-of-Towners

Dragoon IPA

Dragoon Brewing

The craft beer scene in Tucson has exploded during the past few years, and you may have some out-of-town guests who are interested in some local brews. While there are many, many to choose from, you cannot go wrong with Dragoon Brewing Co.’s IPA. One of the premier beers in the Old Pueblo, it serves as one of the most well-balanced, West Coast IPAs you’ll ever come across. Not too hoppy at approximately 83 IBUs, this beer can easily be the gateway for new beer drinkers trying their hands at an IPA.

This has been the brewery’s flagship beer for years, but only recently has it started canning. And most — if not all — craft beer drinkers will agree that this is one of the most important beers to come out of Tucson in a long time.

ABV: 7.3%

For Beer Geeks You’re Trying To Impress

19th Anniversary Ale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
(Credit: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.)

(Credit: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.)

Did you get a beer geek for your secret Santa this year? Don’t worry, we have the beer for you! Firestone Walker has crafted some of the best beer in the world for nearly two decades (yeah, we went there). This super-dense, barrel-aged, uber-flavorful beer combines four of their best brews — Parabola (Imperial Stout), Velvet Merkin (Oatmeal Stout), Stickee Monkee (Belgian Quad), and Bravo (Imperial Brown).

This is a deviation from its previous anniversary ales, which often incorporates twice as many beer styles. But even if you know nothing about beer, any beer geek will gladly accept this gift with a big smile.

Style: Strong Ale; ABV: 13.8%

For The Kids & Cats

Budweiser Holiday Gift Package
(Credit: Anheuser-Busch)

(Credit: Anheuser-Busch)

Ever buy a kid a gift and they are more impressed with the box than what is actually in it? Well, that’s what we have going here. Budweiser, the “King of Beers” and now owned by a Belgian company, always produces some of the best Super Bowl commercials and holiday gift packs. This year is no different.

So we won’t go into the taste, style, and stuff like that. But if you have a friend or family member that would probably appreciate a Honda Civic engine installed in a Cadillac body, check out the impressively-packaged Budweiser holiday gift set!

Style: Pale Lager; ABV: 5%

For Those Who Open Their Gifts Years Later

Ground Control, Ninkasi Brewing Co.
(Credit: Ninkasi Brewing)

(Credit: Ninkasi Brewing)

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, the new Star Wars movie is coming out in a couple weeks. You most likely have a friend or family member who is going to buy some of the new memorabilia and save it for years. Yeah, you know who we’re talking about.

Well, in the same vein, for those beer drinkers that want to age their beer, this is one of the best out there right now — and one that is not going to break the bank. Speaking of Star Wars, Ground Control is literally out of this world. The most successful element of the Ninkasi Space Program, Ground Control was made from brewer’s yeast that was actually sent into space! It’s a pretty good stout — very malty, but not super boozy for an imperial stout. Deep notes of chocolate and hazelnut, coupled with a heavy body and fragrant nose, make this brew a winner right now.

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But give it a year? Well, you don’t need the Force to understand how much better this bottle-conditioned beer is going to taste. Yoda says, pick up a couple — one for now, one for later.

Style: Imperial Stout; ABV: 10%

For The Holiday Sour Puss

Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale, Destihl Brewery
(Credit: Destihl Brewery)

(Credit: Destihl Brewery)

What list would be complete without a good Belgian quadrupel? Afterall, this is the time to shine for the Belgian monks! But unlike most quads, this one has a very sour bite to it. Geuze fans will love this one, as it is made from Destihl’s Saint Dekkera Reserve line, known for its extraordinarily complex wild yeast strains. But the Sour Ale was aged in oak barrels, rounding out its flavor and adding an additional sweet, malty note that balances out the entire beer.

Like every quad, it’s body will sit on your palate for quite a while, making this a slow-drinking masterpiece. Oh, but be careful. Despite the ABV, there is little boozy taste, so don’t throw down too many!

Style: Belgian Quadrupel; ABV: 11.5%

For Those Who Just Can’t Decide

New beer options at 1702 (Photo: 1702)

(Credit: 1702)

Ever been in a situation where you want more than one beer? We call that “awake-time” around here. If you’re a beer person, you’ll probably be able to handle your own construction.

But if you are not, check out the bottle shop at 1702 Pizza & Beer. The beer gurus over there have put together some of the best thematic six-packs you’ll ever see, all for under $10. Whether it’s their “Intro to Hops” package, the “Breakfast Box, or the “Fruit Cocktail,” there is some pretty good gift ideas for beer lovers.

For Those Who Don’t Like Beer (For Some Reason)

Kriek, Brouwerij Lindemans
(Credit: Flickr/naiserie)

(Credit: Flickr/naiserie)

Lindemans, a Belgian brewery, produces some of the most popular and widely-available lambic beers in the world. And for good reason. Many non-beer drinkers turn to lambic beers because of their highly fruity flavors, low carbonation, and velvety mouthfeel.

There are a number of flavors, but the Kriek, with its slightly tart, cherry flavor and robust nose, offers a great pairing for the season and many of the foods we typically eat during the winter season — especially chocolate. The color, smell, and heavy body will resonate especially well with wine drinkers.

Style: Lambic; ABV: 4%

After all of this, you should be content.

Buying gifts of beer is money well spent.

I’ll receive socks and ties, golf tees galore.

But what I really want is just something more.

The craft beer revolution is strong, keep solid the fight;

Hoppy holidays to all, and to all a G’Night!

Ty Young is a freelance writer and former bartender at World of Beer and Old Chicago in Tucson. He also consults with local restaurants and bars about beer selection and menu pairing.