There are lot of I want, I want, I want lists going around, however well intentioned, but it strikes me that the whole point at this time of year is you placing goods and services in the hands of others. It's in fact the most transactional time of the year - which means, as Mr. B. reminds us, the gifting goes in both directions. So, while we all know our own appetites and avaricious desires when it comes to all things beery, surely there are some suggestions for giving beer that can be established:
- Do not let Christmas lead to remorse. Guard your stash with your life. Don't tell your house guests where it actually can be found and be careful when dipping in yourself. Nothing kills a party more than the challenging surprise of a case of bone dry geuze foisted upon the uninitiated. And you will feel unwell if you catch it being secretly poured down the sink or even sneered upon.
- Conversely, don't be a scrooge. There is a reason we have Christmas beers and winter ales - not to mention dubbels which will do in a pinch. They are the gateway drug for all strong beer. Even barley wine can lead a novice wondering why but add a few spices and some Belgian yeast and, whammo, we are all happy again. I stockpile these for my own holiday cheer and, frankly, it would do me and you good to share given the punch they pack.
- This is a good time to move some flavoured beer. Right now in my neck of the woods there is a good supply of Southern Tier Creme Brulee. At 10% and packed with real vanilla pod scrapings, it is unctuous and quickly filling. But it would also go well poured over steam pudding or next to a trifle. Same with sweet lambics, the umbrella in the coconut of the good beer world. Face facts: people like dessert so people will like trying a little new sweet flavoured beer.
- Finally, lay in something closer to what your guests drink than you do. No one really likes the missionary's zeal even at this holy time of year. It is a time of giving and what you can give all your friends and family is a break from your insane hobby interest in the obscure and the difficult.
There you go. Mull some beer for the family, give a mixed six of Belgians to a co-worker. Give but give wisely and wisdom tells us that not all are fascinated by beer to the degree or in the way that you are. So, save that real geuze for your own New Year's Eve. You know you and your guests want you to. Any hints of your own?