Ideas to Help with Holiday Giving…
Every year when holiday season rolls around and I’m browsing my local craft beer aisle for new brews, I watch nervous parents, grandparents, husbands/wives, and other adults aimlessly scanning beer labels in hopes of choosing just the right combination of beers for their loved ones who love Belgian craft beer.
Harried sales clerks are often too busy to repeat their picks to yet another clueless customer whose son/daughter/boyfriend/girlfriend loves specialty beer. While it’s easy to pick up a six-pack of something local, many are looking for an introduction to Belgian Beer so that they can make informed choices.
Note that beer drinkers are like art lovers or foodies! There are often style/flavor preferences that differ between friends and family members about their beer preferences: the light beer drinkers who buy whatever is cheapest in the 24 can pack (stop reading now,) those who prefer Belgian beer (this is for you and yours,) those who are American craft beer lovers (see my next blog post,) while some are just getting into the “beer world.”
For those who love Belgian beer and those who love them, I compiled Belgian Beer 101 – for yourself (if you want to know more) or print out for a loved one who simply isn’t as knowledgeable or passionate about Belgian beer as you are. (You can thank me when you finally get a delicious gift of good Belgian Beer !)
One point to note – if you or your recipient is into BELGIAN BEER – buy Authentic Belgian!
Don’t be swayed by a bottle or package of Belgian-style American craft beer (unless you’re really on a budget.) Belgian imported brews have unique flavors that come through generations of pride, tradition, barrel aging and often wild Belgian (in the air) yeast. It’s like being transported to Belgium and living the good life! For me, the
deep richness that comes with my favorite Belgian brews are worth the extra couple of dollars I might spend. (It might sound snobby, but I like what I like.)
Create a gift basket or 6 pack of several different Belgian beers: For starters choose different styles that show the diversity of Belgian beers:
- One bottle of Lambic (you probably won’t think it is beer because it tastes more like a fruity champagne-style drink than a “traditional” U.S. style beer. This is a great choice for anyone who might have to share their gift with someone who “isn’t really into the taste of beer” (we ALL know people who say this!) Brouwerij (Brewery) Van Honsebrouck N.V. brews St Louis lambics: Framboise (French for Raspberry) and Kriek (French for Cherry);
- A couple of barrel-aged brews such as the Brouwerij De Brabandere’s Petrus suite of beers including Petrus Oude Bruin, Petrus Aged Red (my favorite – it’s deep amber color and sweet) and Petrus Pale ale. If you or your recipient are a bit adventurous, you might want to take a look at the combination “Sour Power 6-pack” (it comes with instructions on how to blend the brews to get your perfect taste!);
- One bottle each of a Dubbel, a Tripel and a Quad.
This would give you a nice varied six-pack of small (11.2 oz) bottles. If you want to create a basket – 2 or 3 of the larger 25 oz / 750 ml (wine bottle sized) bottles or a large and a couple of small bottles, together with a couple of Belgian beer goblets or flutes that match the brewery (or blank ones) makes a great gift. (I’d choose one of the Brewery De Bradandere’s barrel-aged brews, plus a Dubbel and a Quad for variation.)
Happy holiday season, and please share, like, comment – and let me know if this has helped you with your holiday giving ! If you’d like me to send you a copy by email, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Belgian Beer 101. I’ll also be doing a Craft Beer 101 in the next couple of weeks. Are you interested?
As the Belgians would say: à votre santé (to your health) or Proost! (cheers!)