Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Annual Ale Sharpton Gift Guide!

Spread the Cheer of Craft Beer!

I am all about celebrating with brews for any Holiday (hell, I’d toast to an ingrown toenail), but when it comes to gifts, give that special someone something that will help make their heart even more fond of the best beverage in the world! Here are some cool things I came across that would make killer presents and hey, treat yourself in the process. I’m sure you deserve it!

Retro Micro Beer Cycling Jerseys
With the New Year coming around, I’m sure some beer lover is swearing they will get in shape and exercise regularly. Well encourage them to start biking by getting them one of these kickass Retro Micro Beer Cycling Jerseys! Besides using Lafayette Fabrics (ideal for temperature and humidity control), a UV-ray protective shield, and quick-dry capability, the breweries they offer are truly legit freedom fighters of craft brewing including Schlafly, Coney Island, 4 Hands, North Coast, Hopworks, Victory, and others. Let’s ride!

Draft Tap in your Fridge
Ahhh, yes, both the college and NFL playoffs are about to start, plus the NBA is in full swing. I say make your house the choice spot to watch the games especially when you are pouring brews from your own in-home draught beer system! Designed to fit perfectly in your fridge, the Draftmark runs on a rechargeable battery and has a compartment to hold customized one-gallon refills (sold separately) containing the following choices: Budweiser, Michelob AmberBock, Shock Top Belgian White, and Shock Top Wheat IPA (I'd go with the latter two, IMO). Once the refill gets flowing, the brew stays fresh for 30 days, although I am sure it won’t last that long at your party!

Soundfreaq’s Sound Stack
Speaking of parties, music is the best pairing with brew besides sports and food! Trust me, you will look extra hip and tech-savvy Bluetoothin' jams to Soundfreaq’s Sound Stack. The sound quality is top notch and bumps thanks to its signature 2.2 speaker configuration called DubSub. This dock looks pretty slick on top of the counter, within an entertainment system, or wherever your homies are kicking it around the house. They also come in special designs too! You might want to wait until company leaves before you blast Rick Astley’s greatest hits, though.

The American Book of Craft Breweries
For anyone who wants to step up their knowledge and be better prepared for chewing the fat during sessions at the bar, they should read The American Book of Craft Breweries. Author Dan Koester has done a great job embracing the evolution of the microbrewing movement in the U.S., complete with a glossary, fun facts on today’s breweries, glassware info, and other gems. And unlike other beer books out there that dwarf  Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, you can knock this one out in a day or two due to its straight-to-the-point delivery fused with humor, great quotes, and did I say beer? Plus, with it written by a man named "Koester," this book's destined to be on your tabletop! 

‘Brew-ty’ and the Beast
If you’re in Atlanta, take the family to go see one of the most celebrated productions of all time, Beauty and the Beast, at the historic Fabulous Fox Theater. Of course you are asking “What the hell does that have to do with beer?” This question is even more valid with the suspect beer selection the Fox has, but with the Publik Draft House just two doors down, you can convince everyone that they should eat before the play. In your case, with Publik’s happening atmosphere and fantastic beer menu, you should drink before the play, ya dig? Everyone wins!

‘BRÖÖ Your Do!’
What’s cooler than bathing in beer? Nothing! So grab shampoos and body washes made by BRÖÖ, a company out of Asheville, N.C. (arguably the beer Mecca of the country) that specializes in making salon-worthy hair and body products out of ales. From the Citrus Pale Ale Shampoo to the “Soothing Vanilla” Oatmeal Porter Body Wash, everything is all natural, smells fantastic, and hey, it’s made with craft beer! Need I go on? The story on how they got started here is pretty awesome too.

Pub Trivia
Sure, doing trivia at the bars is fun, but a company called University Games is letting us bring the experience home with their game, Pub Trivia. After compiling more than 1,000 questions based on subjects including sports, science and entertainment, get your teams ready and get it on! With all the plusses of deciding when the game starts and stops, saving money on bar tabs, boosting your I.Q., and…well, choosing your own beer, it’s a no-brainer! Available at Walmart.

The Square Pub/Ale Sharpton
Gift Cards and Certificates
To avoid driving yourself crazy trying to find presents that could result in fake smiles and then a chuck in the can if they sucked,  simply support your local pubs and beer specialty stores that have been wetting your whistle throughout the years with consistently awesome beer selections. In Atlanta, you can’t lose if you get a gift certificate or gift card with spots like Ale Yeah!; Growler Station; Wrecking Bar; Hop City; Moondog Growlers; Whole Foods; Cypress Street Pint and Plate; MidwayPub; Tower Wine, Beer and Spirits; Leon’s Full Service; Der Biergarten (they offer a Stein Club Membership, too); The Porter; Brick Store; Square Pub; Augustine's; and a gang of others. In the end, since the recipient of this brilliant present gets to choose their own damn brews, you can’t lose!

I am sure there will be more gift ideas popping up soon on this site, but in the meantime, enjoy and continue spreading the cheer of craft beer!

Hoppy Holidays!
Photo by J. Coger


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