Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Countdown's On - Very Last Minute Gift Ideas: Stuff

Four shopping days left and if you're like me, you'll just be getting started. So far I've thrown out some book titles that would make a great addition to the beer library and I've mentioned some educational courses that would go over well with fans of the drink. Hopefully you've shared some of the ideas with your significant other, put the bug in their ear so to speak.

If you are still searching for that (very) last minute beer related gift here are some more suggestions that will crown you best gift buyer of the year. *Most of these can only be purchased in Ontario*

CRAP - Craftbrewers Recycled Art Project (CRAP) is the brainchild of F&M's head brewer George Eagleson. Eagleson takes old malt bags and turns them into wallets, bottle carriers, tote bags, and reusable shopping bags and sells them at a great price on his website, One of my favourites is the 3 hole desk organizer made from old hoses taken from the F&M brewery which retails for $38.00. Check out the website for more info.

Steam Whistle Retro Bottle Opener - This is the third year the popular Toronto brewery has released these right in time for the Christmas season. The handy wall mounted opener would make a great addition to your home bar, to the beer fridge in the garage, or to your beer memorabilia collection. And it does come with two bottles of their signature Pilsner. Where can you purchase one? You can find some at the LCBO retailing for $29.95

Steam Whistle Brewery Tour - Speaking of Steam Whistle, why not surprise your father with a tour of the famous Toronto Roundhouse where Steam Whistle is located? The interactive tour includes a walk around the brewhouse lead by an entertaining Steam Whistle employee and samples of their Pilsner. For $10.00 you can go on the tour, sample the product, and leave with either a retro bottle opener or sample glass. For $15 you get the 6 pack tour; $14.00 for the 4 pack can tour; and $26 for the 12 pack tour.

beerbistro Gift Certificate - If you live in or around the GTA, a gift certificate for a meal at beerbistro is enough to brighten any beer drinkers day. Here you'll find terrific beer inspired cuisine, wonderfully created by Chef Brian Morin, and a beer list that will make your head spin. beerbistro is located at 18 King Street East -

OCB Discovery Pack #3 - The third edition of the very successful Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) Discovery Pack features six individual cans from six different small Ontario breweries: Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale, Neustadt Lager, Trafalgar Irish Red, Nickelbrook Organic Unfiltered Lager, Muskoka Cottage Cream Ale, and Wellington County Dark Ale. The packaging is easy to spot on LCBO shelves and rings in at a good price at $14.95, making it a great purchase for Christmas parties of for wrapping and putting under the tree.

Beer, Beer, Beer - The LCBO did a great job with their picks for the current winter release, bringing in a handful of terrific beers like Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, BrewDog Punk IPA, Southern Tier's Creme Brulee, Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12, and just recently, 2006 & 2008 Thomas Hardy's. Why not put together a special mix pack of the different beers? Two of each, or one of each? If you fancy locally produced beer, try the Denison's Weissbier in canned format, or Hockley's Valley's underrated Stout. Pick up big bottle of Great Lakes Winter Ale or search out a bottle of Mill Street's 2009 edition of their Barley Wine.

You could also contact Bar Volo and get a gift certificate as they have numerous bottles and cans from craft breweries throughout Canada that are worth experiencing.

Beer Wars - When I was a kid I'd always get the Rock em Sock em Don Cherry movies for Christmas. The tv was devoted to those movies all Christmas morning, giving my parents some much needed rest. Why not relax in front of the tv yourself? Watching a beer documentary? Anat Baron's Beer Wars follows around Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione while taking a deep look into the American brewing industry. A great watch. $19.95

Beer Gear - Most breweries throughout the country have some sort of a retail store that sell glassware, bottle openers, t-shirts, hats, and other miscellnous items. If the person on your list has a favourite brewery, look them up online and see if they have an online retail store you can order from. Or better yet, visit the brewery, purchase the item(s) and get some samples to bring home.

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