Beer Town: Holiday gifts for beer lovers

Spiegelau Craft Beer Glasses

The holidays are here again, and that means it’s time for the annual Beer Town Gifts for Beer Lovers.

As always, we like to point out that beer lovers love beer. And every year, we recommend giving the beer lover on your list something fresh and new from one of the fine Georgia craft breweries near you.

In 2017, that will be much easier and more fun than ever, because a new state law finally allows Georgia breweries to sell beer directly to consumers at tasting rooms. And you won’t even need to take a tour during your visit in order to drink a beer while you shop.

Better yet, there are many more brewery-only releases that have been surfacing since the law change, including, recently, the likes of Creature Comforts Golden Door, Terrapin Abbey Noir and Three Taverns 2017 Inceptus.

Books about beer are always a big hit with beer lovers. Here are five favorites from 2017:

“Against All Hops” by Butch Heilshorn (Page Street, $18.99) — The imaginative brewer at Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth, N.H., Heilshorn offers a practical primer on the ancient beer style known as gruit, complete with unique recipes and tasting notes, and taps into the energy of the current movement toward farm-to-table brewing and botanical flavors.

Atlas of Beer” by Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark W. Patterson (National Geographic, $40) — Both Ph.D. geography professors at Kennesaw State University, Hoalst-Pullen and Patterson are self-proclaimed “beer doctors” and avid homebrewers, who logged some 160,000 miles and traveled to six continents and 28 countries to research how beer and geography interact.

“Cheese & Beer” by Janet Fletcher (Andrews McMeel, $19.99) — Fletcher, a James Beard Award-winning food and wine writer, takes on the subject of craft beer and artisan cheese in this tasting-oriented book that serves not only as a well-researched pairing guide but bridges the gap between the connoisseurs of the two, often cultish food and drink worlds.

“Fermentation on Wheels” by Tara Whitsitt (Bloomsbury, $27) — Though not specifically a book about beer, this is one of the year’s most compelling tales of DIY fermentation, as recorded by Whitsitt, a young food activist who keeps a diary of her travels while driving around the country in her 1986 International Harvester bus, preaching, teaching and sometimes brewing.

“Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance” by Jennifer Talley (Brewers Publications, $19.95) — A 27-year brewing industry veteran, and multiple award winner at the Great American Beer Festival, Talley wades into the sometimes controversial world of so-called session beers, offering both a historic apologetic for the style and a practical how-to for homebrewers.

For something a little more hands-on, try these three beer-related splurges:

The uKeg Pressurized Growler — For homebrewers, and growler shop-goers, this pricey pressurized system is engineered to keep draft beer fresh for up to two weeks. Made of vacuum insulated stainless steel, with a “patented VPR Pressurization Cap,” it not only keeps things cool, it looks cool, too. $149 and up. growlerwerks.com.

Spiegelau Craft Beer Glasses — Specially designed for craft beer by the iconic German glassware company, these beautiful vessels come in four styles (India Pale Ale, American Wheat Beer, Stout, Barrel Aged) each custom-shaped for the “optimum beer texture, balance and flavor intensity.” $19.95 and up. spiegelau.com/craft-beer/craft-beer-glasses.

Skywin Portable Beer Tap — Available on Amazon Prime, this canned beer “draft” dispenser may be the dumbest beer gizmo going (see the twice-as-expensive Fizzics Waytap). But as part of a great holiday tradition, there’s something about novelty dad gifts like this that make them more fun to give than to receive. $49.99.

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