In a mere seven days, adults all across this county will ring in the holiday season with all manner of cop-out gifts. They’ll open the card with the $25 gift certificate for Chili's and, now having the value of their relationship unmistakably quantified, offer the requisite tepid smile in return. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There's still time to pick up thoughtful beer-related gifts for all the deserving people in your life. Or for the humble beer writer who has brought you so much joy during the last year. Here’s a few ideas to consider:
Gift boxes: While beer is always a simple and effective gift, many breweries are putting together snug little gift packs that would look splendid under the tree. They could probably go in a properly reinforced stocking, as well, but you can’t hold CityBeat liable if you try. Both Latitude 33 and Aztec Brewing have notified me they're selling packs available for purchase in their tasting rooms.
San Diego Brewery deck of cards: If you’re shopping for a deck of cards whose coolness resides halfway between regular cards and those with pictures of naked ladies on them, the Craft Company has you covered. It's selling a standard deck of playing cards that's simultaneously a loving tribute to many local brewers. I’m not sure that consumers were clamoring for this marriage to occur, but here it is. However, before I infect everyone with my cynicism, there’s an undeniably festive aspect to this stocking stuffer. The Craft Company, in decidedly Willy Wonka-esque fashion has inserted a “Gold” card into five selected decks, each redeemable for a wonderland of beer treasures. The lucky recipients will win a full-day VIP brewery tour, a fully catered seven-course beer-pairing dinner, one of their self-proclaimed Perfect Growlers and a gift basket, to boot. It’s a Christmas miracle just waiting to happen!
Membership in the Craft Coalition: The San Diego Brewers Guild (the kindly folks behind the eponymous Guild Festival that kicks off every San Diego Beer Week) is forging a new craft-brew community called the Craft Coalition. As a card-carrying member of this organization, you’ll be entitled to discounts and privileges usually only bestowed upon supermodels and foreign dignitaries at more than 20 breweries and brewpubs. This can vary from access to specialty beers and tours of a working hop farm to the simple beauty of $1 off your first pint. At present, they aren’t doing much of the way of advertising these benefits, so you’ll probably need to contact the participating breweries directly.
But, wait, there’s more. You get a Craft Coaltiion-branded koozie, which is a great way to casually announce to friends how well-connected you are within the beer community. Or, if you don’t really use those, you get a kind of chunky looking fez with the Craft Coalition logo painted upside down on it.
Starting a loved one off with $25 annual membership fee is a good way to have them remember you every time they have a beer, so, given the audience of this blog, that’s some serious dividends on the investment.