I’m pretty sure I never gave my Dad a tie on Father’s Day (Fathers’ Day?). But I’m also quite certain I never gave him beer. I’m sure he would not have turned his nose up at a few bottles of Directors or London Pride, but that’s not really the kind of gift where you can honestly say that it’s the thought that counts. So I usually bought whisky. These days, it might be a different matter; the Internet offers some fine opportunities for putting thought into a beery gift.Online beer shopping is a lot more interesting than grabbing a few bottles off the shelf of Waitrose. There’s quite a lot of beer-associated goodies and special bottlings available online making it a lot easier to buy something a bit different. Helpfully, a few online beer shops have “specially-prepared” Fathers Day gift packs, and some of them are really quite good. Ales By Mail have a range of about 12 different gift packs to suit various budgets. I’d be very pleased to get The Meantime Gift Pack at £22.99, containing as it does a “champagne-sized” bottle of each of the Meantime London Porter and the Meantime IPA. Or if like MaltCim, you think there might be a surfeit of beer glasses in the house, you could let your imagination run wild in the Pick-and-Mix range and make your own case from an impressive selection of 216 beers. Or, to narrow it down, perhaps you could suggest a bit of flattery by association and give him a selection of Rogues – You’re not likely to see those down Morrisons. On the other hand, you might think some of the fabulous Hardknott beers might be more appropriate. Beer Merchants online also has a brilliant choice of non-supermarket fare. It’s great for Belgian specialities, but I’d go for something from the Mixed Case page rather than the Gift Packs, which look a bit Easter egg-y, if you’ll allow the metaphor. The mixed cases are not all Belgian but you’ll find some imaginative mash-ups from that part of the World. If a bit of Trappistry is not his thing, then how about a Lawnmower Case? Yep, you read it right: 30 “crisp, clean and refreshing” summery beers for the old chap to reward himself with after a long afternoon in the garden. The likes of Erdinger, Saison 1900, Sierra Nevada, included. Not to be taken at one sitting mind. All for £30 plus delivery. Beer Merchants will also lead you to the fab beers from Founders and Kernel. Of course, it’s not uncommon for breweries have their own web shops. One of the best established is the Fullers Online Shop, at which, as well as beer and glasses, you’ll find some Dad-orientated beer accessory stuff: including all kind of golf and rugby gear. That maybe tells you something of the demographic they’re aiming at, who knows. I’d much prefer something from the Speciality Beers range: a selection of different years of Vintage Ales, perhaps (the “Hey, you’re not old you’re vintage”, idea.) A case of one of the Past Masters releases would I’m sure be most welcomed, but depending on your relationship, might not be taken as kindly… Lastly, a website that is a bit of a mixture of the general online beer shop and the online brewery shop: My Brewery Tap. The concept here, as the name might suggest, is to give UK breweries an opportunity to ply their wares without all the hassle of setting up and running a web shop of their own. It’s also great for imported beers, especially from the US; it’s not a huge range, but it is almost perfectly formed. Delivery is a reasonable £5.99 but remember, if you’re not buying a mixed brewery case, this is for the first case on a per brewery basis, as the beer is shipped from each brewery. The Mixed Case page offers two UK mixed brewery cases (with optional t-shirt, and one US mixed brewery case with 15 great US craft beers, including Brooklyn, Goose Island and Odell, for the unlikely sum of £34.99. That’s 10 quid off! There’s also the Box of Chocolates mixed case of various breweries’ takes on the chocolate beer theme: Marble, Meantime, Saltaire, and more. At first blush, you might not think this is the case to buy coming up to Summer, but these will be great with cake and vanilla ice cream. Then there are five pages of individual brewery mixed cases: a great way to sample a brewery that’s hard to get hold of otherwise (Mallinson, Dark Star, Marble…). There is a nice rolling banner to give you ideas and save the RSI. There you have it: four different online shops and three different apostrophications of the day itself. So, get cracking, to allow time for delivery! I’ll be back with some whisk(e)y ideas.
You think he’d rather have a dram? Try the post “Whisky’s not just for Christmas…“