Photo via Shutterstock Gifts for the Beer Lover It’s the time of year to find the perfect gift for the beer lover […]

                                                                   Photo via Shutterstock

Gifts for the Beer Lover

It’s the time of year to find the perfect gift for the beer lover in the family. There are plenty of cool gifts (and some really lame ones) to choose from. Here’s a few to consider (or reject):

A beer making kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop is a great way to try home-brewing without having to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment. I got one of these kits two years ago and have been using it regularly since.

There are hundreds of beer fridges out there ranging from $75 to thousands of dollars. They are perfect for beer aficionados who like cellaring stouts, or to relieve pressure on the main refrigerator, which can fill up quickly with brews instead of food.

I can’t decide if the Bottle Cap Catcher is ridiculous or pure genius. It opens beer bottles and saves the caps for later disposal.

Take a trip south of the border and pick up a few standout brews from Chicago that you can’t get in Wisconsin. Get your craft beer lover bottles from Pipeworks, a growler from Revolution, or a freshly filled can from DryHop. Those are just three solid examples, and the Windy City has plenty more.

Proper glassware is essential to a great beer drinking experience. Base your purchasing decision on what styles your beer lover likes the best. If they like IPAs, try these beauties developed especially for hop heads.

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Barley Pop of the Week

This week’s selection is a little different because I haven’t tried it yet. But I’m guessing that Santa’s Rampage, on tap at Lowlands Group cafes, is pretty good. The dubbel mixes caramel malt, coriander and orange peel to create a brew made especially for the holidays. Give it a try at Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal, Cafe Benelux and Cafe Bavaria.


Quick Taps

Stout Week at The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) starts on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Fill your growlers with the likes of Founders Breakfast Stout, Epic Big Bad Baptist, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, (the awesomely named) Evil Twin Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room, etc. Get there early in the week to get your stout fix.

Speaking of stouts, I had an impromptu stout tasting (and purging of my beer collection) with friends last week. The lineup included Bell’s Black Note, Bourbon County Stout, Bourbon County Coffee Stout, Founders KBS, Greenbush Barrel-Aged Dystopia, Pipeworks The Jones Dog and a 2013 Bourbon County Proprietor’s. A solid, and delicious, effort.

Beer Street Journal mentioned that Rogue will soon release a Sriracha Hot Stout. No word if it comes with noodles.

The weekly email newsletter from beer aficionado “Grynder” alerted me to the fact that Champps Americana (1240 S. Moorland Rd., Brookfield) just expanded its tap list to 44. That’s a lot of brews to choose from.

Events Brewing

Tuesday, Dec. 9: Erv’s Mug (130 W. Ryan Rd.) hosts a Festival of Christmas Brews Beer School, which starts at 6 p.m. The $10 price gets you samples of beers and some appetizers. Call 414-762-5010 to make a reservation.

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Wednesday, Dec. 10: The Milwaukee Beer Society hosts Homebrew Night at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m. For $10 you can try beers brewed by Beer Society members.

Thursday, Dec. 11: When you buy a Guinness Amazing Ale Sampler at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 5 to 7 p.m. you get a personalized, engraved Guinness glass. Now that’s a deal.

Friday, Dec. 12: Head to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) to sample brews from Alaskan Brewing from 4 to 7 p.m. and the old imported standby Stella Artois from 5 to 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 12: Try New Glarus samples at Discount Liquor Waukesha from 4 to 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 12: Taste Deschutes Jubelale from 6 to 8 p.m. at Erv’s Mug.

Saturday, Dec. 13: New Glarus hands out samples at Discount Liquor Milwaukee from noon to 3 p.m. and New Belgium shows up from 3 to 6 p.m. My advice is to get to Discount at 2:50 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 13: Alaskan is at Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m. and Sprecher gets there at 3 p.m. with a few barrel-aged beers to try. Make it a point to get there and try some.

Saturday, Dec. 13: Christmas and Scotch beers are perfect for the season and they’re both part of the free tasting at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.