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Fathers Day Gift Ideas for the Beer Lover

June is a busy month with graduations, the coming of summer, and the wind down of the school year.  Fathers day always seems to come out of no where.  No worries.  Here are some ideas for the last minute father's day shopper.

Beer Tour
Beer tourism is a real and growing business segment.  Your city probably has one or two operators guiding minibus loads of attendees to typically 3-4 craft beer destinations.   It's a great way to sample a lot of new beers, and meet like minded folks.  Operators are a quick google away.  Consider companies like Boston City Brew ToursThe New Hampshire Beer Bus, Portland OR's BeerVanaThe Chicago Beer ExperienceIndy Brew Bus, the Evan Rail designed Eating in Prague Czech Craft Beer Tour, and even a Napa Valley Hop Train

I read a lot in the summer.  If your dad does too, here are some books he may enjoy.

Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business  by Josh Noel.  Long term Chicago based beer writer tells the story of how a fast growing microbrewery was acquired by the makers of Budweiser.  The book follows the emotional response of the fans, and shows how what the AB marketing machine could do with some craft beer brands, and beer ideas.

National Geographic Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer.  Wine drinkers can get obsessive about terroir, and the origin of their beverage and not just because it makes an easy segue to a more interesting conversation about a far away place.  It's no secret that grapes make wine taste a little different based upon the weather they grow in, their soil, etc. The same is true for hops, barley and yeast that go into beer.  Ad to that the fact that people in different places brew beer differently in an effort to make make beverages uniquely suited to their area and there's a lot to talk about.

The Secrets of Master Brewers: Techniques, Traditions, and Homebrew Recipes for 26 of the World’s Classic Beer Styles, from Czech Pilsner to English Old Ale  by Jeff Alworth   If Dad's a home brewer, this book may hold the secret he needs to elevate his craft.  Some of the world's greatest beers are provided as examples, with home brew scale recipes and plenty of context.

A Brew Day

I'd never suggest trying to convert Dad into a home brewer on fathers day.  Your mother may kill you if you try. There's a lot of space consuming equipment involved.  Never mind boil overs and clean up.  However, brewing a beer with dad is a cool idea, and there is a way to do it without filling your basement.  Brew-On Premise business will provide ingredients, equipment and know-how so that your first batch is fun and successful.  Hopsters in MA makes more of an event of this by also having a full restaurant and pub.  Sample beers.  Pick a winner.  Brew your own.  Enjoy a meal.  It's a great day out.

Cycling Jersey or Other Creative Brewery Swag

Bike Jersey front.jpgThere's a lot more to brewery merchandise than pint glasses and t-shirts.  A lot of breweries have some really cool cycling jerseys.  They are great ice breakers on charity rides. If Dad likes beer and bikes, give this a shot.  Maybe he'll leave me in the dust craving refreshment like the last guy I saw wearing this Tree House jersey.  Apparently, my Great Lakes Burning River Pale ale jersey is out of print.  Now I feel overly regional.

New, logo free Glass Ware

Undoubtedly a beer loving Dad has too many generic tumblers with the logo of brewery.  That's great, buying more would be a bit like buying another coffee mug.  There are however glass ware options that should be explored.  A beer lover needs a set of glasses to enjoy and share Belgian and Belgian inspired beers, and glassware that can contain the entirety of those 16 oz cans the hipster kids are drinking.   Generic American tumblers hold about 12 oz.  No bueno for New England IPA.  You can't go wrong with Teku glassware. It's super high quality, and will make every beer look great on instagram and untapped.  Logo glasses only look good if the logo matches the beer.  I also recommend a dimpled beer mug for utility and awesomeness.


Greatest Hits

Holiday Gift Ideas for The Beer Lover

The gift of beer itself may seem obvious, but it is fraught with pitfalls. Especially if the gift giver is not as knowledgeable, experienced, or perhaps as jaded as the intended recipient. Craft beer lovers tend to have promiscuous taste buds. They crave new and exciting, and occasionally hard to find beers. How can anyone hope to keep track of another person's sense of new. You may have an advantage if you live a few states away and distribution agreements give you unique access to a hot new Nano, or even a New Belgium scale microbrewery. That's a great in if you have a little guidance. A beer lover that's a bit of a hoarder may enjoy an annual gift of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, or Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for their cellar. However, the safest bet for a beer gift is t he somewhat corny Beer of the Month Club. Has the beer lover on your list has neglected to drop any good hints for gift ideas? Are you looking to surprise? Here are some ideas to consider.

Nostalgia and New Ideas: Craft Beer Luminaries Find Ways To Stay Relevant

I'm not envious of the youngsters starting out in an era when good beer is available on every street corner.   Yes, things have never been more exciting in US Micro brewing but I feel the grip of  nostalgia.  New breweries are opening almost weekly.  New taprooms draw crowds to taste new, photogenic beers.  Novelty, at times, seems to surpass quality in importance to today's promiscuous drinkers.  Which isn't to say that we didn't get around in my day.  It's just that we didn't make such an effort to make an obvious trail, or tally our conquests.  Which were, admittedly, somewhat smaller in number.  Might today's craft drinkers missing some great beers from great breweries, in a quest for the next big thing, and a desire to avoid drinking one of dad's many microbrews?  The good news is that many are doing cool things to stay interesting, and remain in conversation. So many brewing luminaries of my youth are now ancient.  Great Lakes Brewing is 30. 

The Post-Malt Era of American Craft Brewing

Once seen as a key differentiation between better and mass marketed beer, the 2-row barley malt may now be the least important ingredient in a brewery.  Malt has disappeared from our beer conversations.  There are still palettes stacked high with 50 lb bags, and fork lifts. By weight, it's still beer's second largest ingredient, after water of course.  However it's lost our attention, and its contributions intentionally minimized to better showcase on the other players - most typically hops and Yeast (or other microflora). The mighty hop has always been a lead character in American craft beer.  There's something in our soil that makes hops express pungent aromas and aggressive flavors.  European brewers traditionally considered these hops too vulgar to feature prominently in a beer's finish.  They kept quiet about cost savings from the use of american hops to bitter.  American craft brewers found ways to feature these piney, resinous flavors as virtues and birthe