Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2010

14 12 2010

Folks, it is just two weeks left until Christmas. And if you are still scratching your head trying to figure out what to get the beer drinker in your life, we are here to help.

This time last year, we recommended some things you can get your beer drinker. And if we may say so, it is still a really good list.

We have a few ideas to update the list.

Books and Movies! A bunch of really good beer books have come out in the past year. We can really recommend Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer. It is quite possibly one of the best books on beer history, production and consumption on the market. The Naked Pint is also a really good introduction to beer drinking. And 1,001 Beers to Drink Before You Die is one of the most helpful books in our library. The documentary Beer Wars is a really good look at the rise and struggles of craft breweries in the United States.

Photo Credit: Calamity_Sal CCKegerator– What beer drinker wouldn’t love having delicious beer on tap at their every whim? For less than $500, you can surprise the beer drinker in your life with their own kegerator. Or, if you are handy, you can pick up a pretty cheap bulk freezer/fridge off of Craig’s List and convert it into a Kegerator yourself. There are a lot of different designs available on-line.

Beer Cellar– Does the beer lover in your life have a large collection of vintage bottles? Where are they being kept? In the back of the fridge? In the basement on a bookshelf? Or even (heaven forbid!) in the back of the closet? Make sure their beer is stored correctly, safely and neatly by investing in a beer cellar. For just a few hundred dollars, your beer collection can be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment in order to ensure proper aging.

And don’t forget to check out last year’s recommendations. There are some really good ideas there, too. Including a trip to a famous beer city or homebrew supplies.

And happy holidays!


Picnic and BBQ Beer Stuff

24 04 2010

Summer is quickly approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere. And in the United States, the unofficial beginning of summer (Memorial Day) is just a month away. And with that, it means the return of drinking outside is here! Whether at a picnic in the park or in the back yard, there are a lot of ways to enjoy your beer outside. Here are some gadgets and tricks to help make your outside drinking a little bit better.

Of course when you are drinking a serious beer, you are drinking from serious glassware. But sometimes, you are not drinking serious beer. And what you are looking for is ease and convenience. That is usually when you bring out the red Dixie cups. But they are so bad for the environment! That is why you need the sturdy, reusable, melamine “kegger” cups from One Hundred 80 Degress. $14 for a set of 4.

But if you want your plasticwear to be a bit more “high class”, Crate and Barrel have some pretty nice wine glasses made of acrylic. So you can throw them in your picnic basket or cooler and not worry about them shattering.

But where to put your drink while eating? Balancing a beer in your lap can be a death defying act. And putting in the lawn leaves your beer open to contamination or tippage at the first strong breeze. The Steady Stick has you covered. Able to hold a class of wine, cocktail glass, or bottles and cups, the Steady Stick gets pushed into the grass or sand to help give you a hand with your drink.

Carrying a cooler around can be such a burden. And those hard sides can make it difficult to pack. But this Rolling Can Cooler can carry a couple of six packs, ice packs, and be still have room for lunch. It’s soft sides make it easier to pack up. And it has wheels and a collapsible “luggage-style” handle. All this for less than $40!

Let’s say you are one of those lucky jerks who lives in California, where it is beautiful all the time. And it rains less than a month out of the year. And you live by your grill. Well, you should have an outdoor kegerator! For less than a thousand dollars, you can have your own tap beer prepared to your exact specifications just a mere few feet from your grilling spot. Have a couple thousand to drop? This deluxe model holds a keg and several dozen bottles and cans and has place for ice and cups!

Oh no! Lets say your friend has just shown up to your BBQ with an awesome bottle of beer that you have just been dying to try! But it is warm! You just don’t have the time to wait to cool this puppy down to the right temperature. Have no fear! Science is here! First grab a big stock pot. Fill it about half way with ice and add a cup of salt. Any salt will do. What this does is lower the freezing point of the ice to below 32 degrees (0 Celsius). Then fill with water. What you have there is a flash freezing tank. Your water will rapidly drop to around freezing. After submerging the beer bottles or cans into the freezing cold water, it will be completely surrounded by cold, allowing for a quick and even chill. Just submerging in ice will allow for pockets of warm air to surround your beer, thus lengthening the chill time.

Let’s face it, there are times when bringing a beer is illegal. Municipal parks and some venues don’t allow alcoholic drinks or glass bottles. Its a crying shame. You didn’t here it from me, but there is a way around it. If you are crafty enough.

Our 100th Post and a New Page

20 04 2010

Crack open the bubbly (beer of course!) as today we post our 100th entry at The Thinking Person’s Beer. The past five months has been a lot of fun and we have been making some posts that we are really proud of. To celebrate, we have made a “non-required reading” page in the tool bar with some of our most popular and favorite posts. You can read its contents here today.

Below is a list of some of our most popular and best posts.

In December of 2009, we prepared a series of posts called “A Decade of Beer Ads” where we found beer advertising on and “hastily derived sociological statements about American Beer Culture through” what we found there. Some of the posts, including the 1990’s, remain our most popular posts.

Nearly every Tuesday, we have been preparing the Better Know Your Beer Style by describing a category of the Beer Judges Certification Program (BJCP) each week. We admit that the BJCP is not without flaws or controversy. But we believe it is important understand what the professionals believe a good and well put together beer looks and tastes like.

To this day, one of our most popular posts was called “Recession Time Drinks” where I convinced (some might even say “tricked”) my friends into drinking a bunch of really cheap beer in a blind tasting. We were surprised to see the outcome. You may be, too.

2010 was the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons to celebrate, we listed our top twenty favorite beer quotes from the show.

To Celebrate Women’s History Month and Ada Lovelace Day, we took a look at the long and productive history of women in brewing. Taking particular note of one of our favorite women scientists, Hildegaard of Bingen.

Last December, we visited the Yazoo Brewery in Nashville, Tennessee for a tour. The Brewery has now moved to a larger location in downtown Nashville. But you can read about our trip here.

As for the future of The Thinking Person’s Beer, we are going to be doing more tastings and more video blogs. We are working on another big “Tis the Season” post on wheat beers. And we will be reviewing some of our favorite spring and summer time beers. We are investigating corporate sponsorship as well as some more viral advertising on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime, thank you for the continued support.