Beer Lover’s Gift Wish List 2014

This is my 2014 Beer Lover’s Gift Wish List which consists of things I am recommending for assorted reasons. Some I own and/or have used and some I have not. I will make it clear which is the case.

[Note: Having ordered something from this list as I constructed it over the last couple days has reminded me why I need to post this earlier if I am going to. Some of these cannot arrive before Christmas at this point but some can. There are also many other, and more appropriate, gift giving opportunities than Christmas.]

1. First up is something we bought personally from the creator at Fall Fest in Bend. We had been looking for a bottle opener that fully respects bottle caps and was ergonomic to use. Beautiful is also a definite plus.

Bottle opener by SJ Woodworks

Bottle opener by SJ Woodworks

Bottle opener by Steve J. Bonora of SJ WoodWorks  $18

It works beautifully. Here’s hoping it lasts a long time.

2. BottleTrade has several things but tshirts mostly. My favorite tshirt is the Hop Medley one. But my favorite item is the His & Her Stout Glasses. Check out that while you can get one or the other, you can also get a pair in all four possible combinations of His & Hers. That’s sweet and should be supported for that reason alone. I have a pair on order and maybe some as gifts too. They will arrive late for Christmas at this point but it is “the thought ….”

3. Educational and reference tools abound. The Cicerone Certification Program has several useful items that any serious beer geek who is trying to improve their knowledge base should appreciate.

I have a set of the Beer Styles Profiles Card Sets and I am also in the process of completing the Road to Cicerone German Course. Either that or the new British and Irish course would help anyone wanting to know more about the styles of those countries and certainly help anyone studying to become a Certified Cicerone.

4. Sadly I cannot afford to be a member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas but I am certified by them as a Beer Steward.  Their web store has loads of useful times from educational to entertaining and many items are on sale now until the end of the year. We have both the Flavor Wheel and the Defects Beer Wheel. We haven’t had a chance to put them through their paces yet but look forward to it.

The Flavor Wheel is the official flavor wheel as developed by M.C. Meilgaard, et al. for the American Society of Brewing Chemists, the European Brewing Convention and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

Beer drinker, homebrewer, professional brewer, brewery worker, bartenders, etc.: all should be familiar with this tool and, more importantly, its terminology and organizational structure.

5. I have been meaning to write about Michael Kiser and his Good Beer Hunting blog/website for a good while now and just haven’t managed it. Check him out. Seriously. Just leave here now and check him out. His shop is full of quality as is his writing and photography. No doubt his podcasting and events are too. I have the issues of Mash Tun and a print of the Hunter Gatherer by Andrew Wright.

I do not have a Beer Peen Hammer but “Good God!” if you’d like to get me one. Check out that post.

6. Perhaps stocking stuffers for next year: Hop-infused lollipops made from locally grown hops – cooked in small batches and hand poured LolliHOPS™ from Yakima Hop Candy. 

7. Our friend Bend Brew Daddy takes excellent, collection worthy, photos and he has a calendar out for next year. Photos of Central Oregon beers and breweries here and the Rest of the World here.

8. Beer Hunter: The Movie Michael Jackson on DVD. Is there anything else to be said? I do own and have watched this and the “special features.” Worth seeing for all beer geeks; worth owning for many of us.

9. Home Brew Club Membership. A homebrew club membership could be just the thing for the budding homebrewer or someone considering it. Sara and I are members of our local club, COHO.

According to the All About Beer 2014 Beer Lover’s Gift guide there is currently a promotion on AHA membership. Join or buy a gift membership (reg. $43) for $43 and get a free book.

10. Beer books.

Bend beer Bend beer: a history of brewing in Central OregonJon Abernathy; The History Press 2014WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

Our friend Jon Abernathy’s Bend Beer was recently released. This is what I have had to say about it here so far.

“It is currently “the definitive” book on brewing in Central Oregon, but I know even Jon wants more answers to some things. There is more he could not fit due to space constraints. Such is book authorship.”

Vintage beer Vintage beer: a taster’s guide to brews that improve over timePatrick Dawson; Storey Publishing 2014WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder

My review of Dawson’s Vintage Beer.

“Vintage Beer by Dawson is an excellent introduction to cellaring beer. It is a quick read that will also bear close studying and better note-taking. Production values are high and it is well-edited.”

Cheese & Beer Cheese & BeerJanet Kessel Fletcher; Andrews McMeel 2013WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

Any fan of good cheese and beer should own, and make use of, this book. We picked up our copy from the author at a signing and tasting at the Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House.

Tasting beer Tasting beerRandy Mosher; Storey Pub. 2009WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

My review of Mosher, which I consider the core book in the Beginner’s Beer Library.

“Synopsis: This is an excellent introduction to beer, beer culture and history, and the tasting (not simply drinking) of beer. Highly recommended!”

11. Magazine subscription. All About Beer and Beer Advocate are probably the two leading beer magazines in the US. Both are worth reading regularly if you like to keep up on what’s happening in the wider world than your own backyard. I subscribe to both.

12. Spiegelau glasses. We have one of the IPA glasses which we got as swag at a Sierra Nevada tasting at Broken Top Bottle Shop and Ale Cafe. It does lovely things for the aromas of hop forward beers. That is enough to affect, and improve, the overall taste of these beers. It is not a massive contribution but it works. The glass itself is fragile and hard-to-clean (I handwash my glasses) but I haven’t broken it yet.

I would definitely like to try the new stout glass. [Link found via 2014 All About Beer guide but was well aware of the glass’ existence.]

13. $300 Yeti Hopper 30 cooler. OK. Honestly. I have no experience of this or any other Yeti coolers but having looked at their website I definitely want one! This could be most useful when buying beers on road trips to get them home at reasonably stable temps. It certainly could have many uses but that would be our most likely use case.

14. For other ideas see the following (some items on my list came from these):

  • All About Beer 2014 Beer Lover’s Gift Guide. As I said, got a few ideas and a few links from here.
  • 10 Gifts for the Serious Homebrewer from The New School. There are some seriously useful items on this list. I won’t waste your time and point you at the 1st part as it was mostly (80-ish%) stupid products. I’m hoping their upcoming 3rd list is better.

There you have it: my most recent list of ideas for gifts for beer lovers. There is always my Beginner’s Beer Library page for ideas as it evolves. No promises on how quickly that is, though.

In which I admit my slackardly tendencies once again run amok …

I have been particularly remiss for a while now about a couple of posts that need doing. And, now, of course, what with the holidays and such, they are holding up even more more-recent posts that need writing.

OSU Fermentation Sciences Pilot Brewery visit

Back in July, I got a personal tour of the Oregon State University Fermentation Sciences Pilot Brewery by its faculty manager, Jeff Clawson. It was a great visit and I have been meaning to post about it since then. I hope to do so soon.

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive

We were in Corvallis again, on 23 August, for my lovely wife to attend a Valley Library in-service day, where she gave a small presentation on tasting beer. A couple of the Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC) archivists chatted with her during lunch and then attended her talk. Was she married to the Bend Beer Librarian and we’re starting up the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive (OHBA) at SCARC was the gist of some of the conversation.

An email introduction later and we were making potential plans for us to help OHBA in whatever way we could: point person in Bend, general consumer view, whatever. On October 24th we dashed over to Corvallis (and back) so that I could meet with the lead archivist for OHBA, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, and it just happened to be Taste of the Chives 2013 so we got to attend a little open house beer food event, too. After the lunch event in the library, Tiah, Sara and I went to a nearby coffee shop and talked for a couple hours. Since then we have been in contact via email.

This I have also failed to even mention here. I have tried to give OHBA a little love on Twitter but I am still overly remiss in not bringing this great new Oregon hops and brewing resource and its enthusiastic and dedicated archivist to your attention.

Events, of late

We have also attended several events of varying size and significance lately.

Last Saturday, the 14th, was the 1st Annual Winter Beer Fest, sponsored by Growler Guys, and hosted at GoodLife.

That evening, our friend Miles, held his first event as Exploring Beer, a barrel-aged beer tasting with 10 selections of barrel-aged beers across different styles. This was an excellent first event. It was well attended and I believe everyone had a good time. I helped a little with the education portion and with serving the beer.

Tonight we are hosting a Solstice Barley Wine Night at our place with about 10 folks, which will be crowded accommodations here. We will be sharing 13 or more barley wines, which range from all 3 of the Class of ’88s from Deschutes, Rogue and North Coast, a 2009 Deschutes Mirror Mirror to a McAuslan St. Ambroise Vintage 20th Anniversary (2009) and an AleSmith Old Numbskull, along with several others.

Reviews

There are a couple of great sites, like Good Beer Hunting, that I have been wanting to ensure you know about, also. And, of course, I am behind on book reviews.

Well, I guess I cannot complain about not having anything to write about going into the new year.

Mash Tun

I recently read two issues of Mash Tun: A Craft Beer Journal (2012 and 2013, or 2 and 3), which I got via Good Beer Hunting.

I must say that I truly enjoyed them and am looking forward to next year’s issue.

They are soft cover format of approx. 9.5” x 5.5”, and of about 150 pages plus a few more ads for beers/breweries or Chicago-area bars. They are printed on heavy-duty newsprint and while mainly black-and-white do contain a fair bit of color, to include color photos.

Both of these issues contain an Introduction and the following sections: History, Lessons, Places, Conversations and Interviews, The Art of Beer (or Drinking), and Off the Shelf.

Assuming I am able to purchase next year’s issue I will. But if the editing does not improve I may not buy another one after that. The editing did improve from issue 2 to issue 3, so I do have hopes for the next issue. But at $8 an issue I expect far better than what was on display. The articles were definitely interesting but simple proofreading should have caught most of what I noticed.

Some of the articles include:

  • History:
    • The Accidental Anarchist: Beer’s Connection to the Haymarket Bomb by Paul Durica (2012)
    • A Ghost of Beer’s Past: S.E. Kiser’s 1912 Battle Cry Against Prohibition by Michael Kiser (2012)
    • Illinois’ Nazi Brewers?: Was Pilsen’s Schoenhofen Brewery A Front? By Paul Durica (2013)
  • Lessons:
    • About Esters by Dave Kahle (2013)
    • Strange Brew: Sake Only Seems Foreign by Erin Drain (2013)
  • Places:
    • Chicago’s Underground Homebrew Counter-Culture by Jessica Murphy (2012)
    • On The Way To Hop Head Farms by Bob Benenson (2012)
    • Bedrinken: In the Port of Amsterdam by Ed Marszewski (2913)
  • Conversations & Interviews:
    • A Conversation with Master Brewer Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker by Ed Marszewski (2012)
    • A Conversation with Gary Fish of Deschutes Brewery by Ed Marszewski (2013)
  • The Art of Beer/Drinking:
    • Geography in a Glass: The History of Porter by Kyle smith & Sarah Morton (2012)
  • Off the Shelf:
    • Review: Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch by Jeriah Hildwine

All in all, I considered them to be a good purchase and interesting reads. I do hope that the editing continues to improve. If you get a chance, have a look and see what you can find of interest.