It's Christmas time.. a time for beer giving

Around Christmas time, I regularly get asked by friends and family what sort of beer related gifts they should get their friends for Christmas. Beer has turned from a drink to accompany hockey games or the patio into an alternative to wine for many people. The varieties of beers have expanded a great deal in the last few years alone. Here are a few Christmas beer gift ideas. Note that I'm not familiar with beer supply and whatnot outside of Manitoba, so most of this pertains to Manitoba, but applies to Canada (if you can get access to it) as well.

  • Alexander Keith's Christmas pack - Why did I start out with this? This is for the beer drinker in the house that doesn't like Belgian Tripels, incredibly hoppy IPAs or stouts. This year, Labatt has released a gift set that includes four cans of beer - Keith's Dark Ale, India Pale Ale, Red Amber Ale and White. It also includes a beer stein. It costs around $14 before tax, so it's not pricey. This is a good idea for people who aren't beer snobs, but friends and family who like a beer once in a while.
  •  Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout - I call this stout the Christmas dessert. If your friend or family member loves stout, they will love this. I'm not a fan of chocolate mixed with fruit, but this stout just works. The stout comes in a 750mL bottle and costs $10. While a bit pricey for the size, it's well worth the money. Honestly one of the best stouts I have ever tried.
  • Beer from Unibroue - You can't go wrong with products from Unibroue. Here in Manitoba, we have seen several new (to us) products in stock in the last little while. First off: Unibroue Terrible, don't let the name scare you off, it's very much one of Unibroue's most delicious beers. This Abbey style ale costs around $10, but will prove to be very popular with the beer snobs! Secondly: Unibroue 17 Grande Reserve, this beer isn't currently available in Manitoba, but I have been told to expect it in the new year. It is currently available in Ontario and Quebec, and is selling out quickly, once it's gone, it's gone! Lastly: Unibroue Sommelier Collection: Every year Unibroue releases a specialty mix-pack of beer to the Manitoba market. I've learned that they've started to sell it in other parts of Canada as well (mainly Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia). This year's selection includes Blonde de Chambly, Eau Benite, Maudite and Trois Pistoles, it costs around $25. This is a good selection if you want to buy a case of beer for a gift, or planning on having a beer tasting party.
  • DeuS Brut des Flandres - This is a beer that's very similar in aroma, appearance and even taste to Champagne. I consider this a beer alternative to Champagne for events like New Years Eve. I received two gift sets with this beer last Christmas, it was very delightful. The gift set is not available this Christmas, but you can still find the bottle of DeuS at liquor stores in Manitoba. It costs $25 for a 750mL bottle.
  • A Canadian Geography Gift Pack - If the person you're buying for is not from Canada, or you want to do something different, I would suggest a Canadian Geography Gift Pack. What this is is simply picking up a selection of beer. You would pick up beer that originates from East Coast, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and finally British Columbia. I have done this before and it proved to be a hit. I would suggest a bottle of a beer by Garrison Brewing or Pump House for East Coast; Unibroue, Dieu du Ciel, Les Trois Mousquetaires or McAuslan for Quebec, Flying Monkeys, Muskoka or Beau's for Ontario; Half Pints or Paddock Wood for the Prairies; and lastly Cannery, Howe Sound, or Tree for British Columbia. This will help show off how awesome the Canadian Beer industry is!
  • Hopside Down Beer Glass - This is a stocking stuffer that I know beer drinkers will love. It may be too late to order this now as it is only 9 days away from Christmas, but if you are planning on giving a late Christmas gift, it's a good accompagnier to a cold beer. $20 US.
Well, that's all, for now! Have yourselves a very merry beermas! Remember: Drink less, drink better. Also, do NOT drink and drive. Use public transit, assign a designated driver, use Operation Red Nose or take a taxi.

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