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Spread the Holiday Cheer

As this year begins its final month, the holiday festivities have already been in full swing (along with full bellies from Thanksgiving). December planning for many Americans begins months before. Now is the time where office parties, ugly sweaters and family gatherings abound. Where television shows give us food hacks on how to eat and drink without gaining weight into the New Year and commercials remind us to keep on shopping. While shopping can be a chore at the mall, it’s never a bore as a beer lover any time of the year.

14352-32067The easiest choice to buy a gift for the craft beer enthusiast is a gift card from one of Syracuse’s fine craft beer stores, microbreweries or brewpubs. Not sure what he or she enjoys in a beer? That’s okay; you don’t have to know if his or her favorite is an imperial stout, barleywine, IPA or Czech pilsner. Let me help you a little bit with that. Sure, you can never go wrong with a gift card that myself as a craft beer lover always enjoys – something to look forward to! If you’d like to personalize it a little, however, you can easily do that with little effort.

Magazine subscriptions are always a winner – with so many to choose from (Draft, Craft Beer & Brewing, Beer Advocate, All About Beer to name a few), it’s easy to order and it’s a gift that keeps giving. There are beers of the month clubs where your recipient will receive – you guessed it – different craft beers every month of the year. DRAFT_Mag_July_August_2010_CoverAnother gift to enjoy year-round and very easy. You see, it isn’t that hard to please a craft beer lover. Last year one of my favorite gifts I received was a personalized beer sampler (known as a “flight”) and four-piece glass set. A wooden paddle with my name and alter ego (The Hoppy Nomad) engraved was a thoughtful gift indeed. While I’m not sure where this was purchased, I found a similar one online at personalizationmall.com.

Glassware is very important to any craft beer aficionado (don’t use a pilsner glass for a stout please!). Believe me there are different glasses made for specific styles of ales and lagers.
You can never go wrong with buying someone a nice set of Belgian tulip glassware if someone loves for instance, Brewery Ommegang. When in doubt, there are guides and infographics online (try Pinterest) on the subject.

downloadLooking for something more local? With so many new breweries popping up in Central New York and local businesses to support, it’s very easy to contribute to the local economy while checking off that holiday gift. Take for instance the Orange Vessel Company (orangevessel.com) who has designed a beautiful growler made from fine stoneware that has been glazed to perfection. You may have seen these beauties at local beer venues or glanced at their postcards that have been distributed to area businesses. It’s a beautiful gift to behold and even sweeter that the recipient can use this any time of year. Trust me, they won’t waste any time showing off their orange (or other colored) growler while filling up where they choose.

The list goes on and on for what gifts to buy, be it beer-related or not. Keeping it simple is very easy or as difficult as you make it. I hope that this guide will help you in making a thoughtful choice, whether you are the one giving or receiving.
The wonderful thing about craft beer is that you really can make no wrong choices when buying something for someone else. Every new beer is an exploration, reading about the latest in the craft beer world will always be engaging, drinking an Ommegang from a Belgian tulip is always a delight – what most matters is enjoying one another’s company during the month of December and always! Cheers!

Gloria Rakowsky