Gift Series Part III: Inhale

First things first, sign up for our new mailing list HERE.

 This is the last part of our gift installment and not only do the featured items from Swag Brewery smell amazing, they’re also available via Amazon Prime which means they’ll arrive in time for Christmas! Swag Brewery was founded in 2012 by two recent college grads and their craft beer themed goods are all American made by employees who make fair wages. 

Beer Candles: Their hand-poured, soy wax, beer candles are each inspired by a different craft beer and are poured into an upcycled beer bottle. I got Vanilla Porter and I love it. My house smells like I’ve been baking up a storm (newsflash: I haven’t been). Other scents include Tropical Lager, Hard Cider, Breakfast Stout, Apricot Wheat, and more! 

Click picture to purchase


Beer Soap: I am a soapmaker and sucker for homemade soaps, so when I heard about this I had to try it. Beer used to be used to nourish hair, so the concept of it in soap isn’t too far fetched. The soap is made with craft beer and all-natural ingredients. I just used it as shower soap for now, but I tossed a bar in my gym bag as well because it can also be used as a shampoo (or shave soap for you men out there).

I tried hard cider, breakfast stout (made with coffee grounds), and tropical lager and they also have honey pilsner with crushed oats, vanilla porter, an IPA soap with crushed hops, oatmeal stout with crushed oats, and more!

Click picture to purchase


The links are affiliate links. This means our blog gets a percentage of the purchase for no additional cost to you. It keeps us running. 
 

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Gift Series Part II: Experience It

This is Part II of our 4 Part Gift series

Have a craft beer lover in your life and don’t know what to get them or want to do something other than the random beer trinket? These gift ideas are ways for you to get out there and immerse yourself craft beer. Ways to meet other people, try new breweries, and make the experience memorable.

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Gift Series Part I: The Botanicals Edition

This is Part I of our 4 Part Gift Installment

This year I’ve broken down our gift picks into categories because you really can’t lump every beer fan under the same umbrella. First up is the “Botanicals Edition” which is for the person who likes floral flavors, herbal cocktails, and gin cocktails.

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Beer and Food Ideas

Much like how you wouldn’t put curry in your apple pie, there are some guidelines when pairing beer with food. A lot of people know the wine guidelines, but the beer ones aren’t as well known yet. In general with beer you want something that either a) complements or b) contrasts with the food being served. You also want to go from the most mild to the strongest and boldest when arranging a beer dinner pairing.

While we are at it, check out this great book (image is a link) on pairing food and beer:

And this one with some delicious recipes and combos for you to try. New Years Eve party idea:

With these basic guidelines you can get creative and try different combos. After the cut are some tried and true pairings in an infographic from Erik Krass, whose page could be found here: Stateline Nissan Auto.

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Why did I buy so much pumpkin beer? A solution.

pumpkinhead-turkey-pic
Did you get all #pumpkinspicebasic this fall like I did and WAY overbuy on the pumpkin beers? “They said there would be a shortage!” Trust me, I’ve done it as well. I live in a Pumpkinhead hoodie because the logo is sweet, and I’ve bartered with reps at fests with beer from the brewery I was working for to land a Pumpkinhead tee.
Well, if your fridge/garage/basement has a few pumpkin beers kicking around and you’ve kind of moved onto winter warmers: I have a solution for you! If you’ve run the gamut of pumpkin rimmers, pumpkin with vanilla vodka, and so on, try these recipes crafted up by Shipyard using Pumpkinhead, a UK meets USA amber ale that is perfect for the fall with it’s sessionable ABV and lightly spiced flavor.

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Beer Mail: Beer of the Month

Beer of the Month from MonthlyClubs.com

For most people bills are the only reoccurring monthly mail they receive. However each month promises something to look forward to for those of us who have discovered the world of subscription boxes. Now I look forward to shipments of makeup, snacks, and now beer, packaged in cute little boxes, intermingled with the Fios and water bills.

Kris Calef, owner of The Beer of the Month Club founded by Michael Jackson, sent me a sample shipment from one of their four offerings for me to try out.

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134. Craft Beer Infographics (I love infographics)

Both students and professors at the School of Hospitality at Kendall College paired up to learn about craft beer and came up with a pretty cool infographic. Some of the more interesting points found in this infographic are:

• Just over a third (36%) of consumers drink craft beer. That number may not seem that high but it is way up in the last decade.
• Almost half of consumers (45%) would be more willing to try craft beers if they were more educated about them.
• If a wheat beer like Bells Oberon is a beer of choice for you, try pairing it with Sushi.
• If you are more of darker beers like Stouts, try pairing it with a dessert food like Chocolate cake. Southern Tier Choclate would be a great choice here!
• Sales of craft beer equaled roughly 5.7 billion in 2007. In 2012 the sales of craft beer doubled to just over 12 billion. By the time 2017 rolls around, craft beer sales are expected to triple to over 36 billion. These numbers show excellent growth of the craft beer industry.
• Craft brewers in the United States alone account for more than 103,585 jobs. That’s a lot of people put to work by craft beer.

129. Win a craft beer t-shirt!

BrewerShirts.com sent us one of their screen printed t-shirts to wear, lounge around in, drink beer in, whatever. Or to wear and model in the front yard while taking picture for the blog. And if you click to read more, you can see how you can win one!

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91. Good last minute gifts for bad shoppers

Yesterday I had my company Christmas lunch, yay, and then I had to go shopping at the mall for last minute Christmas gifts. I had managed to avoid it and go local for everyone this year- but there’s always that one person who throws a wrench in the spokes. And that person would be my sister wanting nothing but a blender for mixed drinks. Thanks. Because I knew I had to face the mall, not only ripe with Christmas shoppers, but also with the addition of the rainy day crowd, I made it a two-drink lunch and went to face the fourth circle (greed) of Dante’s Inferno (the mall) with a nice buzz. Seriously, the women swarming around the Victoria’s Secret bin of discount “PINK” yoga pants remind me of maggots to meat, and then there’s hundreds of their red-faced, squalling spawn, far past the age of bawling to convey their needs (not babies) pitching fits for expensive toys. Back in my day, back when I walked uphill to school, both ways, Santa would have given me a big, “lol no, u suk u were bad. tty next year.” Or, you know, I would have just known not to act that way. But in a world where Wal-Mart greeters get trampled to death so people can buy trac-phones on sale, can we really be surprised by this behavior?


So to help you avoid the stress of last-minute shopping (no one should experience the horror), here’s a list of gifts that don’t require the mall, won’t break the bank, and are good for people who like to drink beer, or who want to get into beer. Sure, it’s almost Christmas Eve, but if you are shopping this late, you did it to yourself and you will just have to suck up the hefty expedited shipping fees. Here are my picks:

1- Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit- $40

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Brooklyn Brew Shop Kit

These kits are great for anyone looking to get into homebrewing, and there are so many flavor options- jalapeno saison, chocolate maple porter. you name it. They make a one gallon batch, which is a lot easier to manage if you are just learning, or if you live in a small apartment. One gallon batches are the way to go, bottling is easier, and if your space is limited you can have several different brews going at once, and if one doesn’t come out as planned, it’s a lot easier to get rid of a bad one-gallon batch than tossing out five gallons. If you’ve tried their kits and like them, or already have all the equipment and want to take it to the next level, that brings me to gift #2…

2- Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book- $19.99

Beer Making Book

Beer Making Book

This book is loaded with seasonal beer recipes, and each chapter ends with food dishes and snacks that can be paired with each beer. The recipes range from spruce beers, to peanut butter porters, all using seasonal ingredients that can easily be sourced locally. They also have some gluten-free recipes, so for glutards who think their beer-lives are over due to intolerance- think again!

3- 99 Bottles of Beer journal $7-10

Beer journal set

Beer journal set

These little journals are great. They’re small and thin enough to fit in a purse, but come with a cardboard case so that you can store them all in one place as they fill up. Each journal holds 33 beers (so the set of 3 adds up to 99 bottles…get it?) and each entry page has places for you to mark price, ABV, type glass used, a flavor/aroma charting system, spaces for the nuances of the beer, color, you name it. It’s nice to have something to organize reviews instead of writing on margins of receipts and napkins, or texting myself snippets of a review as I sip beer out with friends. These are the *official* journals of Two Girls, fyi.

4- Brewery tour and dinner-

Miller tour

Miller tour in 2009- my first brewery, aw. I’m on the right.

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but good if you are looking for a romantic gift and are on a budget brewery tastings are almost always free, and brewpubs often have affordable flights paired with cheese plates and meats. Make a day of it, the brewery tour takes up an afternoon, dinner in the evening. A lot of people don’t realize how fun tours are. I’m planning on taking my dad to Sam Adams as a father/daughter activity this week. He used to homebrew, and I don’t know if he’s toured a brewery before so I know he’ll love it, plus we get to spend time together having more fun than we would if I threw down money for a fancy dinner.

5- Collection of beer to cellar, $10-?- 

Beers for aging

Beers for aging

The cool thing about beer is that you can get a nice bottle of beer for a fraction of the price of a nice bottle of wine. That makes it good for giving- if you buy someone a $10 bottle of beer, you’ve gotten them a nice gift, and it can be aged to taste even better. If you get a sommelier  $10 bottle wine, it probably comes in a gallon jug, and probably isn’t meant to be cellared. For example, I picked up a bottle of the very limited Boulevard Saison-Brett for around $10-15, and was thrilled. Into my budding “beer cellar” it went. The general guidelines for cellaring beer are that it should have an alcohol volume of 8%, be more of a malty beer as opposed to an IPA, and check if it has something like “aged” or “reserve” in the description. That’s not necessary, but it usually means the beer is more suited for being cellared. This site has some helpful tips.

6- Custom Beer Tasting Flight Set-  $29.95

Custom flight set

Custom flight set

I just got this for my birthday, and it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. It’s great for when you want to sample a bomber with some friends, or compare a couple different brews. It looks really nice out on the counter with your bottles of craft beer, you know, makes you look more like an aficionado instead of a person with beer on the counter.

7. beerdillo

I like novelty items and glitzy, kitschy sleaze. So Kristie and I went to Las Vegas (capital of all the aforementioned) for Punk Rock Bowling and to hang with our cross-country mental doppelgangers and ladies of novelty music, Cunt Sparrer. While in flight, we quickly bonded with our inflight companion: Sky Mag, purveyors of novelty everything. I turned the page, our hungover eyes scanning this bible of wonders, this sea of Shy Sasquatch lawn statues, and we saw this:

TEX

And I kind of fell in love with this little man. And, I can get a SET OF TWO for a mere $29.95.