All I want for Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day) …
If Americans are famous for their ingenuity, why hasn’t anyone invented the refrigerated Christmas stocking, capable of holding a six-pack?
While that gift remains unavailable, a sleigh-load of hoppy holiday presents awaits the craft beer lover on your list.
Jonny Quirk’s Beer Adventures app launched late this year with plenty of European destinations — Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Rome, London and Quirk’s U.K. hometown, Manchester — and a few U.S. destinations, led by San Diego.
“That’s one of our most popular international cities,” Quirk said.
The app designs a beer tour itinerary on the fly. Just enter a location — Toronado in North Park, say. After 45 minutes, your phone will ask if you want to move on to your next destination or stay for another round.
“This app will take you to amazing places for food and beer,” Quirk said. “I guarantee it.”’
Available on both iOS and Android. It’s free to download, but has in-app purchases available (only one city can be downloaded for free, it’ll cost you after that).
Ready to brew your own? Neiman Marcus’ splurge-tastic Christmas Book — check out Dolce & Gabbana’s hand-painted refrigerator, $50,000 — offers the BrewArt BeerDroid Beer Brewing Station ($835). Download the app and run this push-button system from your smartphone. neimanmarcus.com
Pico Brew also offers a full line of home brewing kits, starting with the countertop Pico Model C ($549) and ending with Pico Zymatic ($1,999), a garage-filling brewhouse for all-grain brewing. picobrew.com
Curious about brewing, but reluctant to buy supplies and equipment? Start your homebrewing career with a party at Citizen Brewers in Grantville. At this fully-stocked brewhouse, you and up to five friends can brew and bottle a batch (72 22-ounce bottles, or one 50 liter keg) for $259 to $299.
Bonus: brewing’s messy, so let the Citizens handle the cleanup.
Citizen Brewers, 5837 Mission Gorge Rd., Ste. A, Grantville, 760.587.7989, citizenbrewers.com
Westvleteren XII is often ranked as the world’s greatest beer, but the monks of Belgium’s Scourmont Abbey only produce limited amounts. In the past, sampling this prized quadruple ale required airfare to Belgium. Now, a few companies sell the beer online — for a hefty price.
Beer of Belgium, for instance, sells six 33-cl bottles (each holds a splash more than 11 ounces) for $69. Add $53 for shipping and you’re looking at $121.50 for a six-pack. If your wallet can handle that hit, go to beerofbelgium.com.
There’s more to life than drinking beer. There’s also drinking in beer culture.
Since the Smithsonian Institution hired Theresa McCulla as its beer historian in January, the nation’s attic has been dusting off its extensive collection of beer-related art and artifacts. Take your beer-loving loved one to Washington, D.C., where a trove of hoppy treasures are now on display, everything from African beer straws to 19th century beer ads to late 20th century paintings (Robert Cottingham’s “Cold Beer” is a favorite).
Read, bake, drink
In “Food on Tap” (Countryman Press, $24.95), Lori Rice spotlights simple recipes that pair deliciously with beer. Let’s start dinner with pale ale marinara meatballs accompanied by Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and finish the meal with milk stout caramel tart served with Belching Beaver’s Beavers Milk Stout.
Keeping it fresh
The wheel. The lightbulb. The computer. Now, here’s another addition to the list of civilization-shaping inventions: Growler Chill.
This device solves an age-old problem: once you’ve opened a glass jug of beer — aka a growler — how can you keep this precious liquid fresh and bubbly?
Holding up to three 64-ounce growlers, the Chill is a refrigerated countertap that controls the CO2 pressure and expels oxygen from the system. Preorders ($439) for January production are now being taken at growlerchill.com.
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