Malty gifts for Christmas. Part 1: Beer

Beer and whisky gifts for Christmas proved a popular post last year, so here we go for 2011, beginning with some special beers and soon to be followed by some of the best beer books this year.

On the case

A good many breweries have online shops and special selections for the season, but I wanted to bring a couple to your attention that you might not be aware of.

Summer Wine Brewery, from Yorkshire, who in choosing their name are clearly hedging their beverage bets with an eye to global warming. Nevertheless, SWB are brewing beer for the foreseeable – and jolly fine it is too. They have a Festive Case of 24 330 ml bottles of a range of styles from a modern IPA to “Double Black Belgian RyePA”, all for £54.

I might have to include a chocolate fireguard with my next recommendation, as it’s a very limited offer, and might already be sold out. Bristol Beer Factory‘s 12 Stouts of Christmas is the culmination of a year-long project to produce 12 different stouts (would you believe). At £48 including delivery, they are bound to go faster than huskies in the snow.

If you miss the boat (sledge?), you could go for the Mixed Dark Case instead. It has some of the 12 Stouts, or you could choose your own case and include the likes of the Glenlivet cask-aged stout.

Online shop My Brewery Tap is an outlet for craft breweries. They have some mixed cases too, and also a few special bottles that would make a great gift. The 52-week UK beer club is a brilliant idea. Every quarter your chosen recipient receives 13 different, well-chosen British “real” ales. A gift that gives all year for a very reasonalbe £110 plus a Tiny Tim of a one-off, 6-quid shipping charge.  

A more affordable idea is to choose from the pick-and-mix selection, which would allow you to give one or two special beers to several friends and maybe keep a couple for yourself. Or perhaps go for a 1.5 litre Chimay Magnum Grande Reserve. Complete with champagne stopper, it would light up any New Year’s Eve celebration.

London’s The Kernel Brewery is probably the hippest in the UK at the moment, having just walked away with Brewer of the Year from the British Guild of Beer Writers. I couldn’t find a ready-made mixed case for you at that other online bastion of great beer, Beer Merchants, so I’ve made one up: a Mixed Kernel IPA Kernel, IPA ANR, 7%, Kernel, IPA Black 33cl, Kernel, IPA Citra 6.6% 33cl, Kernel, IPA Double Black, Kernel, IPA Nelson Sauvin Citra, 7.1%, 33cl, Kernel, IPA S.C.G.A.NS 7%, 33cl, Kernel, IPA SA.NS.NZC, 7.2%, 33cl, and Kernel, IPA Simcoe Centennial, 7%, 33cl.

Back soon with some ideas for books about beer.

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