As much as I hate to admit it, it’s shopping season, and I think I’m pretty good at picking out gifts for other people, but I’m not the easiest person to shop for. Actually, most people know that I’m really picky about what I wear, what I listen to, what TV and movies I watch and what kind of gear I use. This really aggravates people when it comes time to shop for me. Sadly, I end up getting a lot of gift cards.
What a lot of people don’t realize, and what most people who know me forget, is that I value experiences over things. If someone said I could have a new iPad or a plane ticket to Vermont, I’d take the plane ticket in a heartbeat. And this carries over to my holiday wish list (which, let’s be honest, is mostly about booze).
Anyone who’s read this column a few times knows that, for me, beer isn’t just a flavor or a beverage, but an experience. And when it’s a new beer, it’s an adventure. Brewerji Von Honsebrouck, a Belgian brewery, makes a three pack of wild and sour ales that would give me something to unwrap on Christmas day and something that’s a bit of an adventure.
I normally detest getting gift cards, but a gift card to El Moro would be a great beer adventure. With around 100 beers available at any given time, El Moro has an amazing cellar. They have everything from bottles of rare sours over $40, to tall boys of Hamm’s (the flavor is in the second “M”). And with a very educated bar staff, they’ll be able to pair whatever beer you’re drinking with anything on the menu. And don’t forget to buy the kitchen a round of PBRs (it’s $5 on the bottom of the menu, and they definitely show you some love when you do it).
Though I love beer and can nerd out with the best of any beer nerd, I also have a fondness for bourbon. It’s easily my favorite spirit, but I’m pretty ignorant about why I like what I like, and I’m not ready to find out [editor’s note: When you’re done here, check out page 10].
I want to continue with my ignorance and bliss, so I would love a bottle of Four Roses. One of the reasons I love Four Roses is its current strategy of intense customer relations (if you’re a wholesale customer, you can pick the barrels you want your bottles to come from), interesting “barrel strength” releases (they don’t blend the whisky with other barrels before bottling, which means variation in the alcohol content and character in each bottle), and they make 10 different bourbons using five yeast strains and two mashbills (these are some of the only whisky terms I know because they’re also beer terms), and all of this to me equals an adventure when I’m drinking Four Roses.
And if you want to go ahead and pick one of these up for me, you can drop them off at Steaming Bean, and Erica will put it under the tree for me.
Robert Alan Wendeborn puts the bubbles in the beer at Ska Brewing Co. His first book of poetry, The Blank Target, was published this past spring by The Lettered Streets Press and is available at Maria’s Bookshop. [email protected]