Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Only Holiday Buying Guide You'll Ever Need

Toss away that Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Shred the Sharper Image. This holiday season make that $20 for somebody you really like or $10 for somebody you only kinda like get the best present with the least amount of thought or effort (since that's what holiday shopping is all about!) With only $20 you could probably get "The best toothpick" or something from Hammacher Schlemmer, so why not get an awesome holiday beer pack instead?

I love holiday beer packs. It's all the awesome beer I usually buy with a free cup! What could be better than oddly shaped cups that fit poorly in the cabinet next to regular cups than free oddly shaped ill-fitting cups? Without any further ado, here's some of this year's winners (continuing with some of the Hammacher arrogance in order of worst glass to best).:

From left to right, the flute,
the pint glass and the Chalice
Beereview: Free Glassware!

#4 The only flute glass you'll ever need.
Ommegang 4-Pack
Just like most things in catalogs the title is probably a little misleading here. This is sort of a last resort glass for me because it's awkwardly shaped and doesn't hold an easily eye-balled measurement of beer. If you're not using a matched set it's inevitable that whoever ends up with this glass is going to get a much smaller pour.

#3 The world's sniftiest snifter.
I love duvel and I love feeling fancy. Nothing feels quite so fancy as drinking Duvel out of a brandy snifter wearing only socks. While you can skip the socks and still achieve the desired effect, the snifter is a solid way to enjoy the sweetness and pleasant aroma of Duvel. It doesn't really feel like a beer glass though, which is why it's only in the middle of the list.

#2 The most English pint glass.
Samuel Smith
Now this glass feels like a beer glass! A kinda flimsy, thin, easily broken glass but still, it holds an entire bottle of Samuel Smith's! This is a really nice way to enjoy a beer that's not meant to be sipped or sniffed like some kind of sissy barleywine. It's the only way to truly enjoy oatmeal stout, so when it inevitably breaks it's time to just get another one!

#1 The Monk's best beer chalice.
St. Bernardus 4-Pack
This pack combines some of my favorite beer with an awesome chalice just like the monk holds in the picture. There's no better way to savor a Belgian Abbey ale than out of one of these oversize wide mouthed vessels. They hold about 12 ounces each, so a matching pair is a must when you're splitting that bottle. Chimay comes with a similar glass, but I personally prefer the St. B's!

Special Mention: Jones Soda
If you're purchasing a gift for a young child, beer and glassware are probably both poor choices. This Jones Soda deserves a special mention for it's sheer oddness. They have candy cane and pear tree soda! Watch out though, knowing Jones it probably tastes more like the tree than the pear.

What's the best thing about Holiday Gift Packs? They can be given to the same person every year!

Is your cabinet full of these types of glasses? What's your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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