I have always sorta thought booze does not make for much of a Christmas gift. Don't get me wrong. I like to hand them around with the support of any Christmas excuses going but are they really the gift or part of the event, the gathering itself? It's the latter for me. That being said, consider this snippet from a far too early listing of gifts for Yule 2010 for the beer nerd pal set out in Canada's National Post:
Start by whetting the appetite with Hops and Glory (Pan MacMillan; $14.99), Pete Brown’s tale of carrying a cask of IPA the 18,000-mile journey from England to India. It’s a trail that your expert will know, but they’ll also appreciate you saving them the back-breaking effort. With that foothold established, hit the wanderer where it hurts: Belgium. Try InBev’s Taste of Belgium gift pack ($19.95; LCBO 676494; three different glasses and one bottle each of Stella, Hoegaarden and Leffe. Or, in the same vein, but from vastly different barrels, try Innis & Gunn’s Oak Aged Beer gift pack ($14.95; LCBO 131789), which includes three oak barrel-aged Scottish brews, and a glass. Or if the drinker you’re buying for has a more refined palate — and their own collection of glassware — go for a Belgium-inspired bottle from Quebec: Try Dieu du Ciel’s Peche Mortel ($3.55/341ml bottle; LCBO 125401) a 9.5% imperial coffee stout that’s the perfect tipple for dreaming of exploring aging cellars with beer experts.
Canada being Canada, the state monopoly means we have a limited selection. If your friend is really a beer nerd he already know about and has these things - even Pete's book. Who doesn't have Pete's book? Which makes you wonder what the point of the list is. Effectively, it is free advertising for the state monopoly. Why is that news?
And, Canada being Canada, there is not a peep in the paper about how you can easily cross the international border on a day trip, leverage your great currency exchange rate and buy something really special for your beer nerd pal. Why? Because the Canadian media is not allowed to acknowledge that Canadians shop in the States. It's unCanadian. Except a huge percentage of the Yuletide spending along the line occurs across the line. Shopping in the States for gifts is about as Canadian as it gets.
My advice for Christmas? Get thee to a beer shop on your next spending pilgrimage to Buffalo, Seattle, Burlington, VT or Portland, Maine and get them... and even me... something really special.