And there are many gift sets from Belgium, the land of specialty ales: the Christmas in Belgium 5-pack includes five 11.2-oz bottles of (it varies each year but has included) De La Senne Zinnebar Xmas, De Ranke Pére Noël, Serafijn Christmas Angel, Kerkom Winterkoninkse and Slaapmutske Kerstmutske; the Exclusive Belgian Ales pack contains six 11.2-oz bottles from Brouwerij Van Steenberge, including Bruegel, Augustijn, Gulden Draak, Bornem Triple Abbey Ale, Bornem Double Abbey Ale and Piraat; the Poperings Hommel Bier Gift Pack sports two 750-ml bottles of Poperings Hommel Ale plus a stemmed glass; and the Ename Tripel Abbey Beer Gift Box contains one 750-ml bottle of Ename Tripel Abbey Beer plus a stemmed glass.
Although not a gift pack or box, Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw is available for special gift-giving occasions in not only the standard 750-ml bottle, but also in 1.5-liter, 3-liter, 6-liter and 9-liter bottles. A 9-liter bottle of beer makes a statement as a gift.
American microbreweries are not totally left out of the loop during the holidays, however. At the end of each year, our craft brewers brew their fair share of richer, stronger, small-release beers. Historically, these beers were often brewed for employees and friends of the brewery, but with American beer drinkers reporting that their favorite beer “style” is a seasonal beer, and the most popular form of packaging being the variety pack, the winter season offers breweries a chance to offer novel styles in assortments that make entertainment easy.
Saranac Brewing (New York) each year releases the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack containing two 12-oz bottles each of Saranac Belgian Ale, Big Moose Ale, Maple Porter, Winter Lager, Rye IPA and Black Lager. Rogue Ales (Oregon) has Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve Ale in a Wooden Box — one 22-oz bottle and a glass. New Glarus Brewing (Wisconsin) packages the New Glarus Gift Pack with two 750-ml bottles of New Glarus Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart plus two Champagne glasses. Full Sail Brewing (Oregon) has the Full Sail Gift Box with two 22-oz bottles of the Brewmaster’s Reserve beers (Wreck the Halls and Old Boardhead Barleywine), two pint glasses, a Full Sail tee-shirt, a few coasters, stickers and a keychain bottle opener. Stoudts Brewing (Pennsylvania) puts out the Stoudts Four-Pack, which contains three 12-oz bottles each of Stoudts American Pale Ale, Pils, Scarlet Lady ESB and Gold Lager Munich Style Helles.
A few other of this season’s beery gift packs are:
A Rather Curious Collection Of Holiday Ales 4-Pack — four 500-ml bottles of (varies each year but has included) Ridgeway Bad Elf Winter Ale, Ridgeway Santa’s Butt Winter Porter, Ridgeway Lump Of Coal and Ridgeway Warm Welcome Nut Browned Ale
Anderson Valley Gift Box — Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, a pint glass and a tee-shirt
Wychwood Hobgoblin Gift Tube — one 500-ml bottle plus a tee-shirt
Unibroue Gift Pack — eight 12-oz bottles of Maudite, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles and Éphémêre Apple
Heineken Festive Draft Keg — Heineken in a 5-liter can
McAuslan Vintage Ale — an 11.5-oz bottle in cardboard tube
Left Hand Holiday Pack — 22-oz bottles of Left Hand Sawtooth Ale, Good JuJu Ginger, Imperial Stout and Milk Stout
These gift packages of great beer are a wonderful way to say Happy Holidays.